Project information

The Hepworth Wakefield Garden

We’re working with acclaimed garden designer, Tom Stuart-Smith to create one of the UK’s largest free public gardens. The garden will transform the space between our building and neighbouring Victorian mills providing a beautiful and welcoming green space to enjoy and discover sculpture outdoors.

January 2019 - July 2019

Charity information: The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield logo
  • Need


    THW sits in isolation on undeveloped land with no passing footfall and we need to find new ways to attract more and a broader spectrum of visitors.

    At the same time, public funding is on the decline, so we are seeking new income streams to secure our long-term sustainability.


    The garden is intended to do two main things 1) Make us more sustainable for the long term by broadening our offer to attract significant new audiences (100,000 additional visits p/a) and in turn increase spend on site. 2) Break down physical barriers to engaging with THW and build on our existing learning programme to reach more people, supporting the council's priority to improve the mental health and wellbeing of residents. The benefits of art and quality green space is well documented.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Broaden our offer to reach new audiences (100,000 pa) and mitigate severe funding cuts.


    » Create a garden by a world renowned designer that is free for all to enjoy with a Garden Studio that will be a hub for community engagement.
    » Deliver a high-impact press and marketing campaign to raise awareness of the garden targeting specific audience groups as well as local residents.
    » Devise new outdoor learning, volunteering and community engagement programmes pre-opening to thoroughly embed the garden within our communities.
    » Devise new income streams directly connected to the garden, such as talks by high-profile gardeners and garden related merchandise.

    What success will look like

    Through increased visitor numbers and spending on site. Our regular visitor surveys will tell us if we are reaching new audiences.

    Aim 2

    Break down barriers to engaging with art and reach 38,000 people p/a with a new garden programme.


    » We will place a small number of sculptures in the garden that will act as an introduction to experiencing the gallery in a relaxed outdoor setting.
    » Use our established networks with local community anchors to devise targeted activity addressing local needs.
    » Expand our award-winning learning programme outdoors, offering schools more reasons to take part in our programmes.

    What success will look like

    More people from 'low participation' areas visiting the gallery. Participants postcodes and feedback collected as part of workshops and programmes.

    Aim 3

    Support the council's priority to improve the mental health and wellbeing of local residents.


    » Work with NHS and local agencies to devise targeted outdoor programme for all ages that embraces the mental health benefits of quality green space.
    » Tackle social isolation (with referrals from local agencies) by creating gardening groups, volunteering and training opportunities.
    » Our schools programme will have a focus on health and wellbeing, outdoor play and landscape art, encouraging children to engage in the outdoors.

    What success will look like

    Through regular feedback collected from participants, social workers and local agencies as to the impact engagement has on individuals. Short films including participants voices.

  • Impact


    The garden will bring the gallery long-term sustainability as it provides more reasons for people to visit, which in turn gives us more reliable self-generated income. The garden will better embed THW with its local communities with more regular participation from the hard-to-reach areas and more people experiencing the positive benefits that engaging with art can bring. To mark THW's 10th anniversary in 2021 will be commissioning an economic and social impact study.


    The main risk to this project is funding as we need to raise every penny required to deliver it on top of our existing revenue fundraising requirements. However, we already have 75% of the money required and a number of live applications to trusts and foundations. We have a fundraising strategy supported by a fundraising board who have strong networks in the art and garden worlds. As a project we are at RIBA stage 4, with an experienced design team, ready to appoint the main contractor.


    We currently produce a newsletter updating donors on progress and have a dedicated web page for the project. We have resources to deliver individual reporting requirements of large donors. We will also have 'celebration events' to showcase the work of the community projects.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £1,799,245

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £237,000 design fees professional design fees
      £511,561 plants all trees, bushes and plants required
      £612,454 construction costs site prep, roads & paths, fencing & walls, external fixtures, drainage and services.
      £197,230 construction management labour costs
      £241,000 contingency other fees and unanticipated costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Art Fund prize money £50,000 Guaranteed
    Arts Council England £499,999 Guaranteed
    Garfield Weston Foundation £250,000 Guaranteed
    G&K Boyes Charitable Trust £100,000 Guaranteed
    The Morrisons Foundation £75,000 Guaranteed
    Catkin Pussywillow Charitable Trust £3,000 Guaranteed
    Individuals £44,350 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Wakefield was a thriving industrial area that went into decline as textile mills and coal mines closed. The district has one of the lowest rates in the UK for social mobility, combined with poor educational attainment and areas of stubborn deprivation. THW was intended as the final element of the redevelopment of Wakefield Waterfront. The 2008 financial crash halted other plans and THW was the only thing created on the site we now want to transform. Wakefield has an emerging arts scene.


    An extremely wide audience will benefit from our garden project as it will be free for anyone to enjoy, including visitors to Wakefield as well as its local residents. There isn't anything else like it in the city. The benefits of introducing a garden will include: provision of restorative, stress relieving space, social interaction space that promotes a sense of community, space that facilitates physics activity and natural filters to offset air, noise and thermal pollution.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The garden was devised in response to our detailed audience research as to what would encourage more people to engage in our work. It has been designed by a leading designer responding to our particular location and is unique to us. THW has a strong track record of working with schools, isolated young people and community groups on creative projects that address particular needs. We will build on this foundation and existing networks to devise and deliver the community engagement programme.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Kath Knight

    Kath is Director of Business & Operations, overseeing the delivery of the project. She has strong experience of capital projects and nature reserves.

    Nicola Freeman

    Nicola is Director of Learning & Engagement overseeing the schools and community programme. She has extensive experience in museums and galleries.

    Tom Stuart-Smith

    Garden designer who has 10 gold medals from Chelsea Flower Show as well as 3 'best in show'. Tom has created successful gardens all over the world.

    Stuart Fletcher

    Stuart grew up in Wakefield District and went onto become a successful businessman. He chairs the garden board, supporting fundraising initiatives.