COLUMN: A grand design for all to enjoy at The Hepworth Wakefield

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I’ve been involved in some fantastic and incredibly diverse projects in my role at The Hepworth Wakefield over the last five years, including the redevelopment of the Clore Learning Studios and the publication of our fantastic new collection guide, The Hepworth Wakefield: Art and Artists.

As Business and Capital Development Executive I’m extremely proud to play a part in the development of two current projects.

Although The Hepworth was designed to be as easily accessible as possible, in2016 we were contacted by a Changing Places campaigner who alerted us to the fact that our existing disabled toilets don’t have the facilities that a family like hers requires.

A Changing Places facility offers additional space and extra equipment to those found in a standard accessible toilet, such as a height adjustable adult-sized changing bench and a tracking ceiling hoist system.

Our trustees agreed that we should invest in installing a Changing Places toilet and it will be in working order from Wednesday March 21.

Our Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle partners, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, have also both incorporated Changing Places facilities in their recent redevelopments making all three points of the Triangle exemplary in its ambition to be accessible to all visitors.

Having grown up in Ossett, and moved back after university, I love living on the edge of the city, where I can be out in green fields and countryside within 10 minutes.

Although not a green-fingered gardener myself, I truly believe in the power of gardens and countryside to improve our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

For the last three years, I have been working on the project to transform the grassed area alongside The Hepworth Wakefield into a beautifully landscaped garden for all to enjoy.

I’ve been involved in the process from the get-go, from initially scoping the project, assembling the judging panel and coordinating the design competition, to putting together a business case and liaising with the internationally famous designer, Tom Stuart-Smith. After lots of preparation, in December we submitted a planning permission application for The Hepworth Riverside Gallery Garden.

When the garden is completed, it will be a free new visitor attraction for Wakefield and offers vital green spaces for visitors and residents, particularly those living nearby, who can visit regularly to see the impact of the changing seasons on the planting, and perhaps volunteer to help us maintain it.

We’re awaiting approval in regards to planning permission from Wakefield Council, but in the meantime we are working hard to raise the funding required to progress with construction.