Local Stars Celebrated with Hearts For The Arts 2021 Awards

Valentine’s Day, 14th February, was the very appropriate date chosen for the announcement of the winners of the UK’s annual Hearts For The Arts awards.


Hearts for the Arts are the annual awards ran by the National Campaign for the Arts recognising the UK’s unsung Local Authority arts heroes.

The awards are judged by high-profile figures in the arts and sciences. This year’s judges were: Le Gateau Chocolat, Helen Czerski, Mariella Frostrup, Paul Hartnoll, Adrian Lester CBE, Francesca Martinez, Petra Roberts and National Campaign for the Arts Chair Samuel West.

An online multi-arts festival, a radio programme celebrating descendants of the Windrush generation, and efforts to counter digital poverty in Wandsworth have all been recognised by this year’s awards.

Awards will be presented by Samuel West and selected guest judges at the Hearts for the Arts digital Awards Ceremony hosted by the Local Government Association on Wednesday 3rd March.

Nominations were received from across the UK for each of the three award categories. Despite the incredible hardships faced by Local Authorities in 2020, this year’s awards have seen the NCA receive a record-breaking number of nominations, as local communities turned to the arts for solace, strength and connectivity during the pandemic.

So many strong nominations were received in the Best Arts Category, that three winners have been chosen:

And the winners are:

Best Arts Project: N17 (Haringey Council). A radio programme created in partnership by students of Harris Academy Tottenham, Kick it Out, Threads Radio, Haringey Council, RoughHouse Theatre and playwright, Dougie Blaxland.

Best Arts Project: Create & Learn PlayKits (London Borough of Wandsworth Arts Service). Wandsworth creative organisations worked together with Wandsworth Council to make and distribute over 3000 kits of creative materials and activities to children aged 6-10 years old in most need.

Best Arts Project: Arts E-Live (Mole Valley District Council). A community arts festival of over 50 events in the fields of music, theatre, poetry, creative writing, children’s events, street art, craft, filmmaking and dance.

Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker: Andy Dawson (Inspire Youth Arts). In his role as Service Manager, Andy has strategically planned and secured funds to deliver fantastic creative journeys for young people across Nottinghamshire.

Best Arts Champion – Councillor: Councillor Janet Emsley (Rochdale Borough Council) for her consistent and energetic support of the arts in Rochdale.

The National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) presents the Hearts for The Arts Awards each year. The awards are delivered by the NCA in partnership with Culture Counts; the Local Government AssociationThriveUK TheatreVoluntary Arts WalesWales Council for Voluntary Action.

To read more about Hearts For The Arts, click here

My heartiest congratulations to all the winners in this exceptionally challenging year.

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