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The Hearth thanks its donors after a tough year and looks to the future.

The Hearth is looking to the future after a challenging year thanks to its donors and supporters. Welcome old supporters and new! For those of you not familiar with The Hearth, we are a charity run by trustees, volunteers and our lovely administrator Jo.

The Hearth includes eight working art studios, a café and community hall in its main building, which is a restored early 17th century manse, and work closely with the connecting Horsley Village Church for the benefit of our community.

Like many charities and community organisations their usual programme of events, workshops and fundraising activities were disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic but we did manage to enjoy some of our usual activities at the beginning of the year. In February, audiences were entertained by The Bottle Bank Band who were welcomed back enthusiastically for another feast of fiddles. The final concert in early March, before restrictions began, featured a bravura solo performance by Tim Dalling, multi-instrumentalist, and raconteur.

As part of The Hearth’s charitable aim of providing free events for young people, pre-lockdown we invited local children to take part in a clay monster making workshop with local artist Rebecca Ridley. Heddon-on-the-Wall St Andrew's C of E Primary School pupils also enjoyed a workshop learning all about the history of British Trees, tapping trees, making bark rubbings, and filling out specimen sheets.

Chair of Trustees Jane Gibson reflected on the year and sends this personal message: “As we draw towards the end of this incredibly challenging and disruptive year, we would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported The Hearth and our tenants with kind words, supportive email messages, support on social media and financial help via donations.

"We are looking forward to 2021 with renewed optimism and energy. The board of trustees has been joined by 3 wonderful new trustees. We would like to wish you a peaceful and healthy Festive season and look forward to meeting again in 2021"

After the first lockdown we slowly and safely reopened with COVID measures in place to ensure the safety of all those visiting and welcomed a new caretaker and enjoyed a brief period of workshops before having to close due to local restrictions and another lockdown. Although we have spent much of 2020 closed or limited in the activities we could do, we couldn’t have got through it without the support of our generous donors and local community.

The Hearth Café, along with the resident artists were recently recognised for their efforts by local MP, Guy Opperman who awarded them ‘Highly Commended’ in celebration of Small Business Saturday this December.

The cafe, a tenant of The Hearth Arts Centre, worked tirelessly over the first lockdown, and were a lifeline to the village, supporting the local community by supplying local people with takeaways and groceries, including a delivery service for those who were shielding, and they have continued to deal with all the challenges of a second lockdown and Tier 3 restrictions.

We are all looking to the future with exciting plans to restart our popular history and heritage talks and continue our music programme which has been incredibly popular with local duo Katie Tertell and Annie Ball entertaining audiences online with a moving Remembrance Day performance and special renditions of Christmas carols.

We’d also like to extend our gratitude to all those who have bought a Hearth calendar featuring our talented resident artists.

Our biggest goal of 2021 will be raising funds for a new community space which we would like to use as a classroom and office space to support young people in the community, we can’t wait to share more about this in the new year.

From all of the trustees of The Hearth we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

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