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Big Thank You Picnic shortlisted for award

The shortlist has been announced for the National Campaign for the Arts' (NCA) Hearts for the Arts Awards 2022. The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of local authorities who are championing the arts against all odds.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has been nominated for Best Arts Project for the Big Thank You Volunteers Picnic which was held in Calverley Grounds on 18 September 2021 and which brought together organisations and their volunteers who have worked tirelessly to support the local community during the pandemic. All performances at the picnic were presented by local community arts groups, celebrating local talent.

This year’s winners of this year’s awards will be selected from the shortlist by a judging panel of key arts industry experts and practitioners, including:

  • Andy Dawson, Inspire Youth Arts, winner of the 2021 HFTA award for Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker
  • Krishnan Guru-Murthy, journalist and presenter of Channel 4 News
  • Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, author, speaker and supporter of music education
  • Shaparak Khorsandi, stand-up comedian, writer, all round delight
  • Anna Lapwood, organist, conductor and broadcaster
  • Deborah Meaden, businesswoman and TV Dragon
  • Jack Thorne, screenwriter and playwright
  • Samuel West, actor and director, NCA Trustee

Despite the pandemic, creative people and projects have been supporting and producing local arts all around the nation this year – helping to ease the pressure on the NHS and other UK organisations responsible for care and rehabilitation, and proving the benefits of creativity to mental health, and general wellbeing. The Hearts for the Arts Awards are a way to celebrate these creative efforts and to encourage local authorities and cultural trusts to prioritise arts and culture in their areas.

Nominations were received from across the UK for each of this year’s three award categories: Best Arts Project; Best Arts Champion - Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker; and Best Arts Champion – Councillor.

The shortlist was judged by representatives from the National Campaign for the Arts and from this year’s award partners: Community Leisure UK, Creative Lives, the Local Government Association, Thrive and UK Theatre.

Discussing Tunbridge Wells’ nomination, Hearts for the Arts Award partners said about the Big Thank You Picnic:

A lovely celebratory event with an impressive range of partners enabling both a showcasing of local talent and the opportunity to reconnect with people and thank key workers. This was certainly quite an organisational feat, so congratulations.

In response to being shortlisted, Councillor Jane March, the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure said:

It is an honour for the Council to have been shortlisted for the Hearts for the Arts Awards. The Big Thank You Picnic was a wonderful event and it was great that so many volunteers, representatives of community groups and key workers were able to attend. We can’t praise their efforts enough and we continue to thank them for the work they are still doing.

The winners of the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2022 will be announced on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2022.

The National Campaign for the Arts present the Hearts for the Arts Awards each year. This year’s awards are delivered by the NCA, in partnership with Community Leisure UK, Creative Lives, the Local Government Association, Thrive, UK Theatre, and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

The Hearts for the Arts Awards were launched in 2016 to highlight the achievements of local authorities continuing their arts services against a backdrop of severe financial cuts.

For more information on the shortlisted nominees visit the Hearts for the Arts campaign page.

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