Home-Start Reading volunteer and her daughter raise funds through art

Jacqueline and Charlotte with some of their art

Home-Start Reading volunteer, Jacqueline Burrage, is holding a fundraising art exhibition in Henley this summer alongside her daughter Charlotte. 

The Chilterns in Colour exhibition will include large and small canvases in oils, acrylics and gouache, all of which are ready to hang. There will also be works on paper in acrylic and watercolour and a selection of printed cards. All the work features scenes from the countryside around Henley or the town itself, including scenes from the regatta.

Jaqueline began volunteering for Home-Start Reading three years ago, once her own children were more independent. More recently she has also become a trustee. 

“Home-Start appealed to me as I know how difficult it is bringing up young children and how isolating it can be sometimes,” said Jacqueline. “My own experience of bringing up children was ultimately a very happy one, but I did struggle hugely initially as I had no family nearby and was not able to talk to my mother as she suffered very badly with mental health problems her entire life.”

The proceeds from the exhibition will be split between Home-Start Reading and Riverside Counselling Service, a charity that provides affordable counselling for adults and children over the age of 12.

“I have spent my whole life dealing with the impact that mental health issues have on a family, because of the way my mother’s problems affected myself, my father and my three siblings,” explained Jacqueline. 

“Charlotte, my daughter, is interested in mental health issues as well. Her whole generation has seen a huge rise in anxiety and mental health struggles, partly stoked by the Covid pandemic but also generated by climate anxiety and the knowledge that they have some huge problems to overcome in their lifetimes.”

Mother and daughter both enjoy landscape painting, especially outdoors. 

Charlotte explained, “Art is always something that has connected my mother and I. I have fond memories of being taken to lots of exhibitions as a child and I am very lucky that all my creative interests were always supported and encouraged. For us, painting together, especially outside when we make a day of it, is a really special way for us to spend quality time and learn from each other. 

“I always love watching how Mum works as we have very different approaches to our subject matter and each of us always focuses on a different aspect in the landscape and uses contrasting colours. The landscape art we produce is about appreciating the beauty in our landscape and the emotional significance of the places we visit on walks and then commit to canvas.”

Both Jacqueline and Charlotte have had training with a number of artists, including Camilla Shelley, Neil Drury, Claire Prentice and Sue Lewington. Charlotte also did an Art Foundation course, for which she was commended, before going on to study Archaeology. 

Home-Start Reading’s Manager, Kelly Dadd, commented, “We share Jacqueline’s concern about the prevalence of mental health issues. Last year, 90% of the parents we met told us they were affected by poor mental health. Thankfully, by the end of their time with us, all had seen an improvement, but we vitally need more funds to enable us to help more families.

“We’re grateful to Jacqueline for her support, as a volunteer and trustee and now, working with her daughter to raise funds for us through this exhibition.”

The exhibition will be held at the Old Fire Station Gallery in Henley from 29 June to 4 July. It will be open every day from 10am-5pm and entrance is free.