The winners have been announced for the annual National Campaign for the Arts’ (NCA) Hearts for the Arts Awards 2021.

Celebrating the unsung heroes of Local Authorities who are championing the arts against all odds, nominations were received from across the UK for each of the three award categories.

With so many nominations being received in the Best Arts Category, three winners have been chosen. The winners are as follows:

  • Best Arts Project: N17 (Haringey Council). A radio programme created in partnership by students of Harris Academy Tottenham, Kick it Out, Threads Radio, Haringey Council, RoughHouse Theatre and playwright, Dougie Blaxland.
  • Best Arts Project: Create & Learn PlayKits (London Borough of Wandsworth Arts Service). Wandsworth creative organisations worked together with Wandsworth Council to make and distribute over 3000 kits of creative materials and activities to children aged 6-10 years old in most need.
  • Best Arts Project: Arts E-Live (Mole Valley District Council). A community arts festival of over 50 events in the fields of music, theatre, poetry, creative writing, children’s events, street art, craft, filmmaking and dance.
  • Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker: Andy Dawson (Inspire Youth Arts). In his role as Service Manager, Andy has strategically planned and secured funds to deliver fantastic creative journeys for young people across Nottinghamshire.
  • Best Arts Champion – Councillor: Councillor Janet Emsley (Rochdale Borough Council) for her consistent and energetic support of the arts in Rochdale.

The judging panel for this year’s awards were as follows:

  • Le Gateau Chocolat, drag artiste and cabaret performer
  • Helen Czerski, physicist, oceanographer, television presenter
  • Mariella Frostrup, journalist and Broadcaster
  • Paul Hartnoll, musician, composer, founder member of Orbital
  • Adrian Lester CBE, actor and director
  • Francesca Martinez, comedian, writer, actress
  • Petra Roberts, Cultural Development Manager, Hackney Council (2020 winners for the Windrush Generations Festival)
  • Samuel West, actor, director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts

Talking about the news, Samuel West, actor, director and Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts, said: “In a world that badly needs good news, we can now cheer our 2021 Hearts for the Arts winners to the skies. Surrounded by loss, separation and loneliness, these people, these projects show the joy and comfort councils and trusts can bring when they put art and creativity at the centre of community life.”

The LGA’s Hearts for the Arts Awards ceremony takes place virtually from 3-4pm on Wednesday 3rd March. Spaces are limited, so you can book your place now.