Rachel Wood, Arts Development Officer for Oldham Council, has been presented with a Hearts for the Arts award by actor, director and Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts Samuel West. Rachel was a joint winner in the category for Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer.
The awards are a new initiative by What Next? and the National Campaign for the Arts to reward and thank Councils, Councillors and Council officers who are overcoming financial challenges to ensure the arts stay at the centre of community life.
Rachel Wood has worked for Oldham Council for over 20 years. With strong local knowledge and great communication skills, Rachel is aware of and responsive to the needs and aspirations of her communities, partners and local artists. She works in a collaborative manner to devise and deliver programmes of work which reach across communities and which deliver impact for people of all ages and abilities.
Samuel West, who was also one of the Awards’ judges, said “Rachel is a fantastic example of how one council officer can have an enormous impact on communities over a number of years, and I am delighted that we are able to shine a light on her work through the Hearts for the Arts Awards”.
Jean Stretton, Oldham Council Leader commented “I am absolutely thrilled for Rachel to have won this prestigious award. She is a local girl and is really passionate about Oldham. Her total dedication and commitment to our communities is reflected in her work.
“For more than fifteen years, Rachel has developed Chrysalis, our in house theatre company for people with learning disabilities. She has also been instrumental in the development of our highly successful Early Years programme at Gallery Oldham, Go Baby! – engaging with parents and babies from across our diverse communities.
“Rachel always puts her heart and soul into making every event a success and this award is thoroughly deserved.”