2017 Achates Philanthropy Prize winners

Sandra Giorgetti

The annual cultural giving award, the Achates Philanthropy Prize, has gone to The Plough Arts Centre and Claire and Ray Gard, whose first-time gift of £675 to the organisation will give three local young people an opportunity to participate with the Plough Youth Theatre.

As a result of Claire and Ray Gard's selection, The Plough Arts Centre receives an additional £5,000 donation from the Achates Philanthropy Foundation. Young people from Barnstaple and Torrington who might otherwise not be able to participate will have access to the Plough Youth Theatre as a result of these funds which will kick-start a wider fundraising initiative.

An independent judging panel selected Claire and Ray Gard for the Achates Philanthropy Individual Award from a shortlist of nine.

The inaugural Corporate Award has gone to November Club and Hexham and Northern Marts.

Hexham and Northern Marts (where farmers sell livestock) supported November Club's summer musical about farming and rural life, Beyond the End of the Road.

The Marts' Manager hosted the show at no cost, the unique site-specific performance being seen by an audience with a farming and agriculture background. There was additional support in the form of outreach and promotion.

The Marts’ in-kind support to November Club has sparked ideas for future collaborations and for cultural offers in the Tyne Valley.

November Club receive a £5,000 donation from the Achates Philanthropy Foundation which will fund re-mounting Beyond the End of the Road at other auction marts in the region.

Last year's winner, Nigel Farnall, suggested the creation of a Corporate Award in response to the rapid decline in corporate support for culture in the UK. Hexham and Northern Marts were selected from a shortlist of six by an independent judging panel.