In 2021 we launched the Creative Design Challenge in partnership with the Rural Design Centre Innovation Project. From the outset, we have been clear in our ambition to create opportunities for local businesses and to showcase the very best of the creativity, ingenuity and quality of our designer-makers within Northumberland. In the Creative Design Challenge we were looking for designers who are not only from the County, but also rooted in its culture, inspired by the landscape and environmentally sensitive.

Ultimately we hoped to find some world-class giftware to sell through our retail offers that will help create lasting memories of a visit to Ad Gefrin and Wooler. Initially, 19 companies came forward and our partners the RDCI ran workshops to help the applicants generate ideas, test different concepts and bring them to fruition. We were truly blown away by the quality and standard and are delighted that we were able to select three outstanding proposals to take forward – Ravn Clay, Whistlebare Yarns and Joseph Hillier, sculptor and jewellery maker.

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