ROWSLEY: Volunteers celebrate successful appeal

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Volunteers at disability arts charity First Movement are celebrating a successful appeal thanks to local businesses and national retailers based in the area.

The organisation’s Charity Appeal 2013, launched earlier this year to combat the effects of impending funding cuts, got off to a flying start when Waitrose in Buxton pledged support by inviting First Movement to become one of the three nominated charities included in the monthly Community Matters scheme.

Despite the stinging economic climate, donations to First Movement by Waitrose customers were even more generous than usual and a record cheque was presented to the charity by Waitrose for an impressive £432.00.

Hot on the heels of the Waitrose support came offers from Sainsburys and Asda in Chesterfield for First Movement staff and volunteers to bag-pack for their customers to raise money for the projects.

Caroline Bagnall, visual artist and arts projects manager for First Movement, said: “Schemes like these at local level are absolutely critical to the delivery and development of First Movement projects for people who by the nature of their disability are marginalised and constrained in their day to day life. Without them, the opportunity for learning disabled people to flourish as original, creative artists would simply not be possible and the number of people with learning disabilities able to access our projects would be severely limited.”

In order to showcase the remarkable work done in the term-time Visual Arts Workshops, First Movement’s flagship building, the Level Centre, Rowsley, is this year joining other visual arts venues across the county to participate in Derbyshire Open Arts 2013, with a group show featuring the work of artists with learning disabilities.

The exhibition, Solid Space, is a walk-in, interactive installation which invites visitors to sculpt space and sound. Ever innovative, the considered arrangements of the temporary wooden structures demonstrate the creative integrity of the artists with learning disabilities who create the work.

Caroline said: “The open studio weekend not only gives the public an opportunity to share the originality of this fresh, innovative work, but it also shows the kind of local support we receive at ground level to make the projects work on very small budgets. For instance, Igloo Furniture, one of the businesses in the same industrial space we occupy at Rowsley, has loaned us materials for the wooden sculpture, while two local volunteers, Claire Sampson and Alan Taylor, have assisted in the construction. It is an enormous local team effort.”

Solid Space is at the Level Centre, Old Station Close, Rowsley from May 25-27 while the next First Movement fundraiser, Mamba Rumba, an evening of hot and cool Latin, Salsa and Jazz, is at the Whitworth Centre, Darley Dale on Saturday, June 29.

For further information on ‘Solid Space’, ‘Mamba Rumba’ or other First Movement arts activities contact Janette Hockley-Webster on 01629 734848 or email