A NEW hub in Helensburgh set up to spread the word about the benefits of art has been chosen to be part of a local supermarket’s community funding programme.

The Helensburgh Art Hub in West Clyde Street has been selected to be part of the Co-op Local Community Fund in 2020 – meaning that for every Co-op brand product bought at the company’s Sinclair Street store by a Co-op member, one per cent of the proceeds will go to the hub.

Set up earlier this year, the hub provides a selection of classes, workshops and individual tuition for children and adults including those with additional support needs.

It also works in conjunction with other local organisations, including schools, to provide activities to those who cannot access the hub itself.

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Karlyn Marshall from the Helensburgh Art Hub told the Advertiser: “We’re a not-for-profit social enterprise combining a contemporary art gallery with providing art to the community for people’s wellbeing.

“We have two galleries where we exhibit artwork, largely by professionals, but funding from outside sources such as the Co-op will enable us to expand what we offer, including free or subsidised activities for the community.

“We know that art sometimes isn’t cheap, and at the moment we do have to charge for quite a lot of what we do, but if we can pull in more funding over the coming months we hope to be able to change that.”

While Karlyn co-ordinates most of the hub’s activities, she is supported by a small team of volunteers in delivering projects to groups of adults and children, both at the hub and beyond.

“In recent months we’ve linked up with co-operative run crochet and textile based workshops which have a ‘wellness’ aspect to them,” Karlyn continued.

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“We also have a couple of volunteers who help us with our classes for children.

“We’ve already established links with the Jigsaw (Cornerstone) service and with Parklands School, but we’re always looking for more volunteers to help us expand.”

In addition to the hub’s programme of workshops, professional artists who have exhibited at the gallery in 2019 include Brian McFie, Karen Strang, Marlene Lochhead, Rosalind Lawless, Stephen Ratomski – and Karlyn herself.

But it’s the community workshop programme that Karlyn is particularly keen to spread the word about.

In the run up to Christmas alone, there are sessions on Christmas wreaths, needle felting, anime and manga, and making your own Christmas cards, crackers and festive-themed coasters, while already scheduled for January are sessions on textile therapy, silk painting and on how to recycle and reuse items by transforming them into works of art.

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As reported earlier this week, three Helensburgh community groups recently received a share of £24,000 from the Co-op’s Local Community Fund for 2019 – and Karlyn hopes that, as well as attracting more volunteer helpers, the new hub can benefit to a similar degree when contributions from the town’s Co-op customers are counted up and distributed in 12 months’ time.

“Volunteers don’t have to be artists,” she added. “Anyone who can support us by giving practical help with exhibitions, expanding our social media presence, funding applications or finance is welcome to get in touch.

“We’ve done a lot in the short time since the hub was set up, but securing more funding and volunteer help in 2020 will enable us to do so much more.”

To find out more about the hub, visit helensburgharthub.com or take a look at the hub's Facebook page.

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