Ex-Harrogate mayor speaks out on Henshaws centre's sad news

Former Harrogate mayor Anne Jones who is saddened to see what has happened to Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough.Former Harrogate mayor Anne Jones who is saddened to see what has happened to Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough.
Former Harrogate mayor Anne Jones who is saddened to see what has happened to Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough.
A former Harrogate mayor has said she is saddened by the news about Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough and has hailed it as "an inspiring, creative environment."

As the charity weighs up whether it is possible to retain a facility which it says is not economically viable, Anne Jones, who was mayor of the Harrogate district from 2017-18, said the closure of the much-loved charity-run facility would be bad news for so many people.

The former borough and county councillor said: "It's very sad news about Henshaw's Arts & Crafts Centre.

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"With its beautiful location, the centre and its staff and volunteers have offered such an inspiring, creative environment for Henshaws service users.

"The centre has not only been home to the service users and art makers but opened its welcoming doors to the many community events such as feva festival, Bed Fest and its annual programme and many more locally-based homegrown events."

Henshaws is a charity supporting people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to go beyond expectations across the North of England.

Now an honorary alderman, over the years Anne Jones had many years of involvement and support not only for Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre at Bond End in Knaresborough but Henshaws College in Harrogate which remains open.

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She said: "I was committed to raising the profile and the various fundraising events, the supporters of which were always so very impressed and humbled by the sterling work carried out by the staff.

"During my civic year I invited the former Lord Lieutenant Barry Dodd to visit Henshaws College and the arts centre he was very impressed and supportive of the sterling work carried out at both facilities."

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.

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Options for the arts and crafts centre's 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 but its chief executive has already said it is not viable as the impact on the northern-wide charity of Covid-19 had been immense.

Henshaws specialist college on Bogs Lane in Starbeck has remained open to students throughout the crisis and the team is optimistic of strong numbers for the academic year starting in September.

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