Art attack on homelessness in Flintshire

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A housing association helped raise money for a charity which protects thousands of people at risk of losing their homes.

Cartrefi Conwy sponsored a major networking event in Flintshire at which business leaders from across North Wales had the chance to bid at an auction where work by some of the country’s most distinguished artists went under the hammer.

Cartrefi Conwy sponsor Art Auction organised by Arts and Business Cymru in aid of Shelter Cymru. Pictured are Jan Lowdon, Shelter Cymru, Gwynne Jones Cartrefi Conwy MD, Anthony Parry Dodds Auctioneer and Gwenno Angharad fromArts & Business Cymru.

Shelter Cymru’s annual Welsh Art Auction is a highlight of the charity’s fundraising calendar, bringing in a big cash bonus to support its vital work helping thousands of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness and also in campaigning to prevent them losing their homes.

The auction at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, hosted by Arts and Business Cymru, raised almost £3,000 for Shelter Cymru which last year supported nearly 19,000 people at risk of losing their home or living in poor housing.

Together with a similar event in Penarth, near Cardiff, and an online auction, Shelter are aiming to raise a total of £20,000.

The auction at Theatr Clwyd featured 25 pieces of work donated by artists either originally from or with strong connections with Wales.

The lots which came under the hammer in Mold included paintings in a variety of styles and media as well as sculptures and ceramics.

Auctioneer Anthony Parry of Dodds Auctioneers of Mold, who also gave his services free, kept the offers flowing with his dry sense of humour.

The top price of £560 was paid for a seascape by Neath-born artist Martin Llewellyn, whose work is heavily influenced by Kyffin Williams.

A bid of £400 captured a piece by the much-admired Seren Bell, who specializes in pen-and-ink drawings of animals and whose customers have included the Prince of Wales.

Two pieces which remained unsold will be added to the catalogue for the South Wales sale.

The President of Shelter Cymru, Sir Bryn Terfel, said he had once again been overwhelmed by the generosity of the artists who had donated stunning artworks.

“Since 1982 Shelter Cymru has worked tirelessly to prevent homelessness in Wales and in that time has helped more than half a million people fight for their rights, get back on their feet and find or keep a home,” he said. “No-one should face homelessness alone.”

Janet Lowdon, Head of Housing Services for Shelter Cymru in North Wales, said that over the 15 years the auctions had raised £200,000 but the work was never-ending, with latest Government figures showing 480 in Wales becoming homeless each week.

“There is an increasing number of people coming to us for help and advice,” she said. “That is why we are particularly grateful to all the artists who donate work, Arts and Business Cymru who provide the link with businesses across the region and Cartrefi Conwy who sponsor the event.

“Cartrefi Conwy have supported a number of our initiatives and we work closely with them.” Janet said it was a common misconception that many people deliberately made themselves homeless.

“But people would not choose for their children to become homeless,” she said.

Gwynne Jones, Cartrefi Conwy’s Managing Director and a former trustee of Shelter Cymru, said the association shared a common purpose with the charity – to improve the lives and communities of their tenants.

“With 3,800 homes we inevitably work in close partnership with them,” he said.

Mr Jones said they had also worked with Arts and Business Cymru on various projects including a choir for older people and a photography project. In 2016 Cartrefi Conwy won the Business of the Year Award for its participation in such schemes.

Gwenno Angharad, North Wales Manager for Arts and Business Cymru, who became involved in the art auction last year, said they were pleased to be able to facilitate the networking event for such a good cause.

“We know what good work Shelter Cymru do and how important this fundraising event is. We have a good relationship with Cartrefi Conwy and their sponsorship enables us to stage this auction,” she said.

One of the artists who donated a piece of work was Emma Jayne Holmes from Cefn Mawr, near Wrexham, who has supported the event for the past 10 years.

“I contribute to it because I know the incredible good work that Shelter Cymru does for the homeless,” she said.

Fundraising officer Claire Pilsbury said: “We had a fantastic evening and would like to say thank you to everyone who came and supported the Art Auction in North Wales.

“The event raised money to help us continue our work supporting people in Wales at risk of homelessness or living in poor accommodation. We would also like to thank Arts and Business Cymru for all of their support and Cartrefi Conwy for sponsoring the event as well as Anthony Parry from Dodds Auctioneers and Valuers for being our brilliant auctioneer for the evening.”

Anybody want to bid on the art can go to  www.sheltercymruartauction.org.uk