Art auction inspired by a North East artist struggling to make ends meet has raised £10k for Newcastle foodbank
An art auction inspired by a struggling single-mum has captured the hearts of big-name artists and even NUFC manager, Rafa Benitez, – and raised an impressive £10k to help thousands of people living in food poverty.
When the owner of a Newcastle art gallery, John Thompson, learned that local artist, Serann, was auctioning off an original piece of her work to support a foodbank because she describes herself as being ‘always one step away from having to use one herself’, he knew he had to get behind her cause.
Serann’s painting, which was inspired by the film I, Daniel Blake and a 200-year-old poem by Percy Shelley called Masque of Anarchy, sold for £1000 and following this, Mr Thompson launched an appeal to every artist and celebrity he knew to provide paintings for an art auction.
The charity auction included over 100 six-inch by six-inch original pieces of artwork created by various artists including Alexander Miller and several Newcastle United players and the manager also submitted autographed creations.
Silent bids flooded in for the paintings which were displayed in the North East Art Collective gallery in Eldon Garden and two artists in particular drew in crowds when they donated mini masterpieces – Kerry Darlington’s artwork raised £1,200 and Alexander Miller’s piece went for £790.
John Thompson said: “When I heard what Serann had done and I went up to the foodbank to see for myself what’s happening, I was incredibly moved. That people are having to rely on foodbanks in this day and age is horrendous.
“We were overwhelmed by the support we got from artists and famous people and we didn’t expect to raise the amount of money that we did.”
The money raised is helping the UK’s largest foodbank – Newcastle West End Foodbank – provide around 10,000 local people with food parcels per year and, in addition, around 6,000 hot meals a year are prepared for those in need.
The Lilia Centre in Benwell operates two days a week and each year collects and hands out around 106 tonnes of food – worth £209,000 – from individuals, supermarkets, manufacturers and other foodbanks. The service also provides free hot drinks and puts people in touch with a range of support services to explore the exact nature of their crisis situation and look at options for their long term resolution.
Chief Executive of Newcastle West End Foodbank, John McCorry, comments:
“We are very grateful to everyone involved in the art auction. One in five people in the UK live below the poverty line and around half of those families have children. The money raised allows us to help those who are usually having to choose between eating or heating their home.
“I would like to stress though that it’s never ‘job done’ here – the foodbank is just like your cupboard at home it’s rarely full and empties quickly after it’s filled.”
The woman who inspired the auction, Serann, works fulltime in art and giftshop Artful in Hexham, is an artist in her spare time and is bringing up two children on her own. She explains why she got involved:
“I work hard but I’m always one step away from having to use a food bank. It incenses me that the disparity between the rich and the poor is ever growing and that in one of the richest countries in the world, people are having to use foodbanks.”