A New Year brings new challenges and new networking opportunities and none finer than a gift my husband Sean bought for me at Christmas which means I am now officially a 'friend' of the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.
The Friends of the Whitworth is a lively group of people who have chosen to get more involved with the Gallery and its work.
The Friends organise a full programme of events to complement the Gallery's exhibitions, as well as visits to other venues and abroad.
The Friends also support the Gallery financially. Since its foundation in 1933, the organisation has contributed to many acquisitions for the Gallery. A number of activities at the Gallery such as the Art Cart and the Sunday concerts programme are made possible through support from the Friends.
Many members help at the Whitworth as volunteers. A team of specially trained guides offer introductory Eyeopener tours every Saturday at 2pm, sharing their affection and enthusiasm for the Gallery with the public. Another group of the friends are on call to work with special needs groups using a resource called the Art Treasure Chest. Volunteers do all the administration for the Friends organisation, which helps keep costs to a minimum, allowing more money to be used to support the work of the Gallery.