Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000


Test Valley is our community; it’s our home as a business, and the personal home of most of our employees. Like us, many others in our community spend their days working hard in the town centres and industrial estates of Test Valley. Whether it be dressing a shop window, manufacturing the famous Twinning’s tea or taking customer service calls here at Be Wiser; we find ourselves looking for inspiration and relaxation at the end of the working day.

Be Wiser and the Test Valley Arts Foundation believe that ‘Test Valley is Beautiful’ and can provide the tranquillity and inspiration that many go further a field in search of. Whilst the spectacular and somewhat uncelebrated nature and beauty of Test Valley is on our doorstep we understand the daily challenges of being able to experience it.

The “Test Valley is Beautiful” project aims to bring this into the homes and workplaces in the community through the medium of Art. Since 1991 the Test Valley Arts Foundation, an independent charity; have been working hard to bring culture and arts into the communities of Test Valley. Having previously supported the charity in an Art Bus, drama and writing Projects Be Wiser are keen to support the foundation with a new project which celebrates a different medium.

The project will initially be web based, with a website showcasing photography of nature and beauty around Test Valley. Users will be able to look at these online and draw inspiration from the beauty that is in their region. The “Test Valley is Beautiful” website will be interactive, inviting individuals to upload their own images of the area to share with others and hold a comment facility for users to share their experiences and opinions on the photographs and interact with other users.

Further to this in December 2015 we will hold an online competition where all photographs will be reviewed with the top 12 being featured in a calendar to be distributed to homes and workplaces in the Test Valley. We would also like to have a facility which allows users to purchase prints and additional calendars. These will be sold only at a nominal cost to cover the cost of printing and to allow us to continue into the next year of the project. The website and calendars will also be a platform for Be Wiser and the Test Valley Arts Foundation to thank Aviva for its support by crediting them on the prints.

The rationale behind choosing photography as the medium is simply to engage as many members of our community in the project as possible. The popularity of digital photography and smartphones means that most households now have access to some form of photography equipment. By inviting members of the local community and its visitors to share their photography of the nature and environment in and around Test Valley we are able to instil a sense of pride and gratitude in our residents. The website will also include links to local tourist websites to attract new visitors to the area. In addition to this, being able to run this project will give the many people who are already engaged with Test Valley Art Foundation a project to experience and enjoy whilst building further interest from others in the community.

The inclusivity of the project makes it a real “community” project, to encourage individuals to engage with one another; building on the existing sense of togetherness and unity that there is in Test Valley.

The project encourages individuals, to engage with nature, and each other in a way they may not have otherwise done. With the rise of photograph sharing websites as social media, for example Instagram ; this inclusive project will be inviting to a people all across our diverse community.

Aviva could be the force behind bringing people together with nature in a contemporary way. There is exciting potential for extraordinary outcomes when pulling together as a community to celebrate and enjoy the splendour of nature, and prove that Test Valley really is beautiful.

Test Valley Arts Foundation

Moment of Pride

Having worked with Test Valley Arts before we know how hard they work and their passion for not just the Arts, but the local community. Winning this funding would mean that we are able to kick-start “Test Valley is Beautiful” with them and create a sustainable project that can continue for years.

Location: Test Valley District, United Kingdom