Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) is delighted to be the Official Presenting Partner supporting the project which follows on from the successful ‘Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade’ which brought an economic boost to the town centre last year. The gross value–added economic impact of the art trail in 2021 for the local area was £2,252,416 with £312,750 raised for Heart of Kent Hospice.
Heart of Kent Hospice, in partnership with Wild in Art and Aardman, launched the new trail at the MBC owned Maidstone Innovation Centre this week when it was also announced that the Council will be the Official Presenting Partner.
Leader of the Council, Cllr David Burton said:
MBC is delighted to be supporting Heart of Kent Hospice, Wild in Art and Aardman with this exciting new trail and is pleased to be once again helping to bring another iconic public art trail to the County Town of Kent in 2024.
We all saw the fantastic positive impact Elmer had for our residents, visitors and the local economy by attracting people to the area, bringing benefits to local businesses whilst raising funds for the Hospice and we look forward to welcoming Shaun to the Heart of Kent very soon.
Shaun in the Heart of Kent will include up to 50 large individually decorated sculptures placed around the town centre, parks and river walks across the surrounding areas.
Created by multi-award-winning animation studio ‘Aardman,’ Shaun and his flock will arrive in Maidstone in 2024. The new free walking trail is planned around partnership and will bring together local companies, schools, community groups and creative sectors to highlight the area’s best assets, inspire civic pride amongst residents, and boost the local economy.
The Hospice’s Chief Executive Rachel Street said:
The trail will be designed to offer a fun day out for families and friends of all ages and will also connect the local community to our wonderful Hospice.
This new trail will showcase a wealth of artistic talent, whilst positively contributing to the economic, social and cultural life of Maidstone and the surrounding areas.
In 2021 ‘Elmer’s Big Heart of Kent Parade’ not only saw thousands of people take part in the trail but also raised vital funds for their local Hospice. The event also contributed to an increase in referrals and awareness about the care and support we provide. The Hospice Team also benefited from the opportunity to engage with more local businesses and schools.
For more information about Shaun in the Heart of Kent and to keep up to date with all the latest news go to: www.shaunheartofkent.co.uk