Fundraising: Charity shop sets up art gallery to boost income

Cornwall Hospice Care has opened an art gallery in the basement beneath its Helston charity outlet in west Cornwall to expand the shop's fundraising potential.

Every two weeks, the refurbished charity shop basement and courtyard becomes the gallery@helston, an art gallery featuring the work of a selected local artist. The charity receives a cut of each sale.

The gallery, which has whitewashed walls, an original stone cobbled floor and a small courtyard, is offered to artists free of charge. In exchange for the free space and marketing and publicity support, 40 per cent of any work sold goes directly to the charity to support its specialist palliative care services across Cornwall.

The organisation claims the gallery is the first charity shop gallery in the UK. Sheila Mitchell was the first artist to be exhibited in the charity's newest fundraising initiative, which was launched in June.

The project was the idea of Amanda Holdgate, an artist who has also worked at the Helston shop. She said: "I wanted to give local artists, particularly first-time exhibitors, the opportunity to show their work while finding a new and exciting way to support Cornwall Hospice Care."

The charity wants to promote the work of local artists and explore different media. The space has already been booked until the end of the year, and 11 artists have been booked for next year.

Exhibits at the gallery include paintings, textiles, glassware and jewellery.

Artists wishing to discuss possible exhibition dates can send their portfolios and CVs to Holdgate.

Following the initial success of the Helston gallery, the charity has begun making plans to open more galleries at its shops in holiday resorts, possibly including one in St Ives.

The charity, which was created by the merger of Mount Edgcumbe Hospice in St Austell and St Julia's Hospice in Hayle in April, covers the £4m that it costs annually to run its services through legacies, donations, fundraising events, a weekly lottery and income from its shops.

The hospice provides 24 in-patient beds across two units, lymphedema and outreach clinics, as well as day care, family and bereavement support services.

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