2017 PRIZE

Winners, nominees and guests gathered for the Achates Philanthropy Prize 2017 at the Delfina Foundation, London. The Awards were presented by eminent cultural philanthropist, Omar Al-Qattan. Read the speech he gave at the ceremony.

Download the 2017 Prize press release for full details of all nominees.



The Plough Arts Centre and Claire & Ray Gard

Claire and Ray were nominated by the arts centre for establishing a bursary to give three local young people the chance to attend Plough Youth Theatre. Claire and Ray live in Kent, but regularly visit an elderly relative in North Devon where they first discovered The Plough, and have now been attending events there for several years. The couple believe in giving young people a chance to shine and established a bursary, totalling £675, to give three local young people the chance to attend Plough Youth Theatre. They also worked with the arts centre to find the best way to reach out to those who could benefit the most.

Greg Wise (actor), Cinzia Hardy (Artistic Director, November Club), Robert Addison (Manager, Hexham and Northern Marts) and Peter Brooke-Ball MRBS (sculptor of the Awards).

Richard Wolfenden-Brown (Director, The Plough Arts Centre), Omar Al-Qattan (Awards host & philanthropist), Michael Nabarro (Co-Founder and CEO, Spektrix), Claire & Ray Gard, Annemarie Shillito (Catalyst Changemaker & Business Development Manager, The Plough Arts Centre), Caroline McCormick (Founder, Achates Philanthropy Prize) and Sophie Hatch (Outreach Director, The Plough Arts Centre).

Quirk Theatre at The Plough Arts Centre – the school group audience received a subsidised travel deal funded by donations (photo Annemarie Shillito)

Beyond the End of the Road at Hexham Auction

(photo November Club)


Claire and Ray were selected from a shortlist of nine outstanding cultural philanthropists.

Cambridge Live and Christian Raphael MBE

IOU and Laurence Walker

Park Theatre with Ian McKellen and the individual donors he has inspired: Arthur Yang,

Zein Mayassi & Nathaniel Lalone

The Yard Theatre and Gareth Cutter


Nigel Farnall winner of the 2016 Achates Philanthropy Prize

Caroline McCormick Director of Achates Philanthropy  

Michael Nabarro co-founder and CEO of Spektrix

Aliceson Robinson Achates Foundation Trustee, young philanthropy champion and Chair of the panel

Rossella Traverso Associate at BOP Consulting and Achates Philanthropy

John Wilson journalist and broadcaster

Richard Wolfenden-Brown, Director of The Plough Arts Centre…

“The Plough Arts Centre has thrived for forty two years, but this is the first time we’ve ever won a national award – and we hope it won’t be the last! Claire and Ray Gard’s generous gift will inspire others to do likewise, and make arts more accessible to even more young people across North Devon”.

Claire & Ray Gard…

“It is a great honour for us to receive this Award. We set up the bursary in recognition of the fact that giving young people access to the arts, and specifically involvement in drama, can be life-enhancing and can provide something special outside their everyday lives and responsibilities”.



November Club and Hexham & Northern Marts

The Marts were nominated by November Club for their in-kind support of its summer musical Beyond the End of the Road. This new Corporate Award was created at the suggestion of 2016 winner, Nigel Farnall, in response to the rapid decline in corporate support for culture in the UK.

When the performing arts company, November Club, created Beyond the End of the Road, a new musical about farming and rural life, they approached Hexham & Northern Marts, where farmers sell livestock, to ask if they would consider hosting the performance in their venue. The Manager agreed to host the show at no cost, enabling the creation of a unique site-specific theatre production which engaged an audience from a largely farming and agricultural background. The donation also included in-kind support, in the form of outreach and promotion through the Marts’ distribution channels, and sparked new thinking about future collaboration and ways to create a unique cultural offer within the Tyne Valley.


Hexham and Northern Marts were selected from a shortlist of six outstanding companies which have supported the arts for the first time within the last 12 months.

Coventry City of Culture Trust and PET-Xi Training

The Plough Arts Centre and Martin Pailthorpe TV & Corporate Video Production

Theatre Royal Stratford East and Unite Students

Turner Contemporary and Business Circle

West Yorkshire Playhouse and Prospect Archaeology


Nigel Farnall winner of the 2016 Achates Philanthropy Prize

Helen Gaffney Executive Director of Achates Philanthropy

Razia Iqbal journalist and broadcaster

Caroline McCormick Director of Achates Philanthropy  

Paul Owens Co-founder of BOP Consulting

Libby Penn digital specialist working across the cultural sector

Dagmar Walz Achates Philanthropy Foundation Trustee

Cinzia Hardy, Artistic Director of November Club…

“There’s a need for some inventive thinking about how we, as arts organisations, can work with potential sponsors as well as the ways in which potential sponsors can support culture. Our musical Beyond the End of the Road is inspired by the stories of hill sheep farmers in rural Northumberland so approaching Hexham Auction Mart, where farmers come to sell and buy livestock made perfect sense. I am absolutely thrilled they have won this award, this is a wonderful thank you to them.”

Robert Addison, Manager at Hexham & Northern Marts…

“It is incredible to be recognised for this Award. We thoroughly enjoyed working with November Club on the musical and I have had so many people asking when it will be on again! It has certainly opened our eyes to new ways of working, especially at a time when Marts are under pressure and there is a real need for diversification.”