Colchester museum used as food bank wins national award

The Firstsite in Colchester has been named Museum of the year

The Firstsite in Colchester has been named Museum of the year - Credit: PA

A Colchester museum has won a national award after it was transformed into a food bank and helped serve free school meals during the pandemic.

The Firstsite, in Lewis Gardens, has been named the Art Fund Museum of The Year, 10 years after it first opened. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, directors allowed local charity Community 360 to use the building as a base to help vulnerable people. 

Director of Firstsite, Sally Shaw, was presented with the £100,000 prize in a ceremony at the Science Museum in London.

The museum beat four other venues; Centre for Contemporary Art Derry, Londonderry, Experience Barnsley, Thackray Museum of Medicine in Leeds and Timespan in Helmsdale, Sutherland, to win the accolade. 

Jenny Waldman, art fund director and chairwoman of the judges for Art Fund Museum of the Year, said: “We’re proud to announce Firstsite in Colchester as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021.

“They exceeded all our expectations.

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“Here is a small organisation thinking big and caring for their local community. Here is excellence in Essex.”

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