Creative patients are honoured in annual art awards

Jane Akhurst, Sarah Grainger-Jones, Hugh Morgan Williams and John Lawlor at the 4th Annual Koestler Awards at Northgate Hospital, Morpeth.
Jane Akhurst, Sarah Grainger-Jones, Hugh Morgan Williams and John Lawlor at the 4th Annual Koestler Awards at Northgate Hospital, Morpeth.

More than 70 awards have been dished out to North East patients to recognise their artistic achievements.

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), which provides mental health and disability services across the region, held the 4th Annual Koestler Awards.

The celebration took place at Northgate Hospital in Morpeth.

And among the honours to be distributed were four platinum awards, which were presented as part of the Koestler Trust’s national art competition.

Guests and healthcare staff attending the ceremony enjoyed a colourful slideshow of all of the winning artwork, along with musical entries that had also won awards.

NTW Chief Executive John Lawlor said: “It has been a joy to bear witness to such incredible artwork and achievement.

“Art can be such a healing force and contribute to our feeling of wellbeing, and it has been my privilege to meet our talented artists.”

Some of the judges’ handwritten comments were read out to the audience at the celebration, along with feedback from award-winning artists such as Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller.

There was also a message from Grammy award-winning musician Hot Chip.

NTW Arts Project Manager Jane Akhurst spoke about the work of charity Outside In, which supports and promotes the work of artists who may find it difficult to otherwise access the art world.

The project runs an online gallery and presents exhibitions throughout the UK.

So far, five patients from Northgate Hospital have had their work displayed through the scheme.

The Koestler Trust is an art awards programme for offenders, secure patients and detainees.

Its Acting Director Sarah Grainger-Jones attended the Northumberland prize-giving ceremony.