Healthcare Workers' Foundation (formerly HEROES) is a charity founded by NHS workers, for NHS workers. We exist to support the welfare and wellbeing of those fighting to keep us healthy and safe during the COVID-19 crisis, and beyond.
Our services cover the physical, mental and day-to-day needs of all NHS HEROES, from doctors and nurses to cleaners and porters. Together, we’ll continue to make a real difference.
raised since March 2020
raised since March 2020
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He stunned audiences around the world when he won Netflix Blown Away 2 - and now global glassblowing icon Elliot Walker is auctioning off his work to raise money for the NHS.
To thank healthcare workers for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, the 32-year-old artist has created two large glass spools which, with the help of London Glassblowing, will now go under the hammer to raise funds for the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation.
The two pieces, titled The Threads Connecting Us, measure approximately 40cm in height and 15cm in width - and 50 per cent of the funds raised from their sale at auction will be donated to the charity. They each come with a separate needle. The spools design was initially thought up when London Glassblowing - set up by the UK’s oldest glassblower Peter Layton back in 1976 - made a call-out for ideas for a live demonstration in which others could take part to celebrate the easing of lockdown restrictions and keep the excitement alive following Elliot’s success on Blown Away.
After completing his MA degree in Applied Arts, Elliot worked at London Glassblowing for eight years after being spotted by the studio while doing a demonstration with a friend at Waterperry Gardens in Oxford.
“They wanted to do something which other people could be involved in to bring everyone together and to mark the human response to the pandemic,” said Elliot. “So I came up with the idea of the spools, where people could help apply the threads, with the separate needle on each representing the vaccine.” Elliot says his inspiration behind wanting to help came from his mum, Alison Innes, who came out of retirement during the pandemic to aid with the vaccine roll-out and to help with community outreach programmes at places of worship around the Midlands.
“My mum worked for the NHS for 25 years as an administrator at a GP surgery,” explained Elliot. “She came out of retirement to help with the emergency. Her husband was in an at- risk category, so she was very pleased to be a part of it. “The pandemic and lockdown was very hard for everybody. For me, we were quite lucky because my partner Beth and I work together, so we were able to continue working. And I was lucky to have the show. It was very hard for everybody to get any work or make money as the studios were closed.”
The two large spools will go under the hammer on July 5 to coincide with the 73rd anniversary of the NHS. A small number of limited edition spools in three colours are also available to purchase exclusively from London Glassblowing as part of their Summer Show, which is currently running and ends on July 17 - https://londonglassblowing.co.uk/
The Summer Show this year coincides with 45 years of the Bermondsey Street studio - and the 84th birthday of its founder, grandmaster of glass Peter Layton, which takes place on June 21.
Peter and Elliot will be among the artists whose work will be exhibited at the show, as well as Tim Rawlinson, Alison Lowry, Bruce Marks, David Reekie, Cathryn Shilling, and Colin Reid - plus many more.
Four artists are also set to give talks via Zoom as part of the event, where they will discuss their latest works and the processes involved in producing their creations. The London Glassblowing Summer Show will take place at the Bermondsey Street gallery, with pieces also available to view and buy via an online catalogue at https://londonglassblowing.co.uk
To celebrate the completion of Julie Bennett's series of #portraitsfornhsheroes paintings, she has produced a beautifully printed 100% cotton tea towel featuring her portraits to help raise funds for the Healthcare Workers' Foundation and as a mark of thanks for the incredible contribution of all healthcare workers during the pandemic.
During the first lockdown in 2020, Julie Bennett volunteered to paint portraits of frontline NHS workers as part of Tom Croft's social media project #portraitsfornhsheroes.
This exclusive tea towel is designed by the artist, and printed and made in the UK. This large tea towel will complement any kitchen or can be hung on the wall as a piece of contemporary art (frame not included). Each tea towel is neatly presented within a designed belly band, signed by the artist!
You can find the tea towel on sale here: https://www.juliebennett.co.uk/nhsheroesteatowel
All profits from the sale of the tea towel will go to the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation.