Doubts over future of much-loved Harrogate charity facility

The future of the well-used and much-loved Henshaw's Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough is uncertain today as the charity weighs up whether it is possible to retain a facility which it says is not economically viable.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 4:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 4:24 pm
Uncertainty over whether it will reopen - The much-loved Henshaw's Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough.

In common with many other charities, Henshaws, a charity based in Harrogate and Knaresborough supporting people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to go beyond expectations, has been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 situation, leading to some very difficult decisions.

Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough has been closed for both Art Makers and visitors since before lockdown and will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Options for its future are now being considered by the charity as it battles to find a sustainable future for the centre which is not currently economically viable.

Henshaws chief executive Nick Marr said: “As we all now realise, the situation will take years to stabilise. The charity sector, like so many others is reeling from the impact.

“We are now consulting Centre staff about the future of their roles within the organisation. We also know that the Centre and its work are valued hugely by both the Art Makers and the local community.”

“This decision will undoubtedly cause a great deal of distress to our Art Makers and their families and all of our loyal volunteers, as well as to our staff, and we will do everything we can to help during these sad times but we find ourselves unable to continue to provide this service. The financial situation was stretched before lockdown but COVID 19 has had a huge financial impact on us.”

Henshaws Specialist College has remained open to students throughout the crisis and the team is optimistic of strong numbers for the academic year starting in September.

Nick Marr added: “This is an extremely difficult decision being taken in exceptional circumstances and our team has done, and is doing, some fantastic work supporting hundreds of people across Yorkshire. I hope we can now work together to build a stronger Henshaws for the future, whilst continuing to help those needing us in the present.”

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