Arts for All – and a Gold Star for Gina

25 October 2017

Congratulations to Take Art’s Director of Early Years, Gina Westbrook, who has been awarded the Life Time Achievement prize at South Somerset District Council's Gold Star Awards.

The Gold Star Awards primarily focus on celebrating children and young people and the adults who volunteer and work with them.

The coveted Lifetime Achievement award was won by Gina Westbrook, much to her abashed surprise. The ceremony took place on Monday 23 October at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, in front of 600 people.

Gina said later, “I was shocked but immensely honoured to receive this award. The work I do is only possible thanks to willing partnerships with Early Years practitioners, funders and artists in a sector that has been under a lot of stress. I'm privileged to be supported by a team of amazing people at Take Art who share my passion for creativity for Somerset's very youngest. And can I thank my creative mum who paved the way in all this."

Jane Parker the Early Years Manager at Take Art who nominated Gina for the award said, Gina has dedicated much of her career to Somerset's pioneering arts charity Take Art. In that time she has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to provide opportunities for our very youngest people in Somerset (age 0 to 5), their families and carers to experience and participate in high quality arts experiences. She is hugely admired by fellow Somerset Early Years setting leaders, EYs consultants, national arts charities and academics.’

‘Gina's inspirational funded projects have brought together an array of people working within Early Years, encouraging them to reflect on their practice and collaborate with each other to make the best creative experiences happen - often in the most deprived areas of Somerset. In short, her vision 'Arts for All' has had a huge impact on many people, enriching their sense of belonging within our Somerset community.”

Councillor Sylvia Seal, South Somerset's Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Culture said, "South Somerset District Council is committed to supporting young people year round and this awards ceremony gives well deserved recognition to so many of our local heroes."

We are all very proud of Gina here at Take Art, as she continues her pioneering Early Years work on projects such as the Early Years music network Soundwaves Extra and the Early Years touring theatre project Hopper.

Gina will be speaking at Small Steps: Big Noise on 15 March 2018, The South West’s biggest Early Years Expressive Arts Conference, bringing together EY practitioners, artists, music leaders, settings, regional hubs, funders, researchers and strategic partners.


Photo above: Lifetime Achievement Award - Gina Westbrook (Photo credit: Len Copland)