We’ve won an award!
In November 2012 our group entered the EPIC Awards (National Awards for voluntary and amateur arts). The Epic Awards are an initiative of Voluntary Arts, the national development agency for arts participation. Voluntary Arts offers information, advice, training and development opportunities to those in the voluntary or amateur arts sector, from small local groups to large national organisations.

Our entry representing Wales was for our display at the BA Summer Meeting at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in June last year. Sarah L and Deb did a fantastic job of writing the application which was sent off with several photos of the display. Much to everyone’s delight we won and on Thursday 31 January Liz Stone kindly represented our group and went to collect the award at the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry, Londonderry. Liz did a grand job and gave a wonderful speech which included a waving of a lovely willow star! She was later interviewed on the Running Your Group Weekly webcast, you can see her in action here.


The award received acclaim from Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, Welsh Government:

“The work of Voluntary Arts and here in Wales, Voluntary Arts Wales, in supporting and encouraging the voluntary art sector is fully acknowledged. They are to be commended in bringing forward the Epic awards to recognise the work and commitment of this sector. I am delighted that the Welsh winner this year is Welsh Basketmakers South Wales Group. It is encouraging that in our modern world, with all its digital technology, there is not only a place for traditional arts and crafts, but that the achievements of the group have been recognised. Not only are they producing work of the highest quality, they are also ensuring that this ancient craft and artform continues, something that we should all celebrate.”

Our prize was 200 cash, 250 worth of gift vouchers to to spend at GreatArt, a year’s subscription to www.runningyourgroup.org, and membership of Arts Development UK. Can’t wait to get spending!


Liz’s Derry adventure
Thanks to the Welsh Basket Makers South Wales group for sending me as their representative to The Epic Awards in Derry. All travel arrangements were taken care of by my traveling companion from Voluntary Arts Dan Carpenter, so all I had to do was turn up. A flight and a coach journey followed.

We were meeted and greeted by the Voluntary Arts team, fed and watered then off to the Verbal Arts Centre. I have to say I really had no idea what to expect, only that I would have to give a short explanation about our Project – The Exhibition in the National Botanic Garden for the Basketmakers Association Summer meeting

Firstly I am introduced to Irene who won the English Award for Quilts 4 London, Sarah from Scotland and her Barra Bunting Project and the Irish winner Feargal who with others have reinstated the St.Patrick’s Day Festival in Fermanagh. The room began to fill up with dignitaries, the mayor of Derry, The Minister, local MP and many other enthusiastic and interested parties. I felt very humbled that our passion for weaving willow was receiving so much appreciation and recognition.

The prize giving followed and I waved a willow wand and enthusiastically spoke about our groups display and all the things we have done since we started. Robin who is part of Voluntary arts amusingly remarked he liked the fact that the eating of cake seemed important to all the winning entries.

So the evening continued I met lots of interesting folk. Eventually the Voluntary Arts crew dragged me off to a bar to share their evening of music and alcohol. As I did not wish to offend fellow celts I joined in the fun. The down side was I had to be on the coach at 7.00am the next morning for the 2hr ride back to Belfast to fly home.

A short visit but very enjoyable, and I certainly would like to go back to Derry as it is the Capital of Culture this year.

Liz Stone

Welsh Basketmakers - South Wales Group, Ogmore by Sea, Vale of Glamorgan

Tel : 01656 880514 - 01656 881007 Email: info@welshbasketmakers.co.uk