Take a look at what we do with your donations. Your contributions help us to conserve our collections and care for them for future generations.

Ukulele Lessons

The launch of Southport’s first ukulele lending library, in partnership with Ukulele Buddies, The Ukulele Project, and Southport Library. The Atkinson Development Trust are funded a series of beginner courses in 2023/24.

Paper My Wishes

A community engagement project telling untold stories as part of Suhail Shaikh’s incredible exhibition Paper My Wishes (25 November 2023 – 24 February 2024).

Adopt A Teddy

The launch of Adopt a Teddy – an opportunity for people to support The Trust through adopting one of The Atkinson Museum’s teddys. Get yours here!

Quilt | Grid | Pattern

Quilting workshops to run alongside the Quilt | Grid | Pattern exhibition – an opportunity to help visitors understand the techniques, skills and art associated with quilting.

Free tickets for social inclusion

A number of people received free theatre tickets through our social inclusion programme, which aims to reach socially deprived groups in and around Southport. Recently, tickets for The Atkinson’s 2022 and 2023 Christmas Pantomimes have been funded by the Trust. In recognition of International Women’s Day 2024, the Trust funded tickets for ‘As SHE Likes It’, a theatre production inspired by the story of #MeToo pioneer Patricia Douglas.

Acquisitions and restorations

We’ve helped fund the acquisition of works by artists including South-Asian pop artist and Liverpool born Chila Burman, British-Chinese contemporary multi-media artist Gordon Cheung and Salford photographer Paul Kenny. A winged heart scarab from The Atkinson’s Egyptology collection is also being restored thanks to funding from The Trust.

Accessible Toilet

We’re proud to have part-funded a vital Changing Places toilet in The Atkinson in 2020. With its extra equipment and space it allows visitors with profound and multiple learning disabilities and/or physical disabilities to use a toilet safely and comfortably. David Hurst who visits The Atkinson with his son Matthew and volunteers with Southport Access for Everyone (SAFE) said: “Everyone has a right to live in the community with access to its facilities but for some people like Matthew the lack of a fully accessible tiler denies them this right.”

The Atkinson Wellbeing Choir

“I love to sing, and for two hours a week, I can forget all my worries and forget I am a carer, it gives me a boost and helps me face the rest of the week”

After watching a BBC programme on the incredible health benefits that communal singing provides, one of The Atkinson’s Centre Officers, Matt Dodd (pictured, front left) suggested the Trust should fund a choir. We loved the idea, so we did.

The Atkinson Wellbeing Choir was launched in 2019. It aimed to bring joy and a sense of community to people who felt isolated or needed a new challenge. We funded a professional music tutor to lead free weekly singing sessions at The Atkinson. We were delighted that plenty of people took the offer up, and a committed core of regulars have become our Wellbeing Choir.

The feedback from choir members has been heartening. It’s doing just what we hoped it would.

“It has given me a sense of belonging and a connection with like minded people. Also a sense of purpose.”

The choir helped lift spirits and improve wellbeing in the local area too, performing several free concerts. Although on hold at the moment, The Atkinson Wellbeing Choir will be back. Participants will pay a small contribution towards costs, so that the choir becomes self-funding, meaning we can go on to fund similar choirs to get started in other parts of Sefton, to bring the benefits of social singing to more communities.

“I feel so calm and uplifted after spending time singing with such nice people”

Conserving our art collection

The Atkinson has over a thousand artworks in its collection and we were delighted to be able to conserve this charming painting ‘Still Life, Flowers’ attributed to Jan van Os (1744-1808).

Bequeathed to The Atkinson by John Henry Bell in 1929, work was done to clean and re-varnish the painting and it was exhibited in The Atkinson’s Cross-Pollination exhibition 5 May 2019 – 28 March 2020.

Photos courtesy of Art UK and Harriet Owen Hughes

Restoring our textile heritage

Over one hundred years old, this beautiful Chinese skirt is a supreme example of absolutely exquisite freehand embroidery, depicting a vivid array of flowers such as plum blossoms and peonies. Such embroidery and superior fabric is a sign of high social status.

Received by The Atkinson over a decade ago, work was needed to the hem, to the waistband and to secure loose threads. Thanks to the wonderful support we received through our crowd-funding campaign ‘Empower our Flowers’ with Spacehive, we were able to put this unique textile on display for the first time in The Atkinson’s Cross-Pollination exhibition, 5 May 2019 – 28 March 2020.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed as listed here.

Free Theatre Tickets for Schools

This project, suggested by a staff member at The Atkinson, provided schools in economically deprived areas of Sefton with subsidised tickets to the 2019 Christmas show; The Great Christmas Sleigh Ride.

The initiative proved so popular that demand exceeded the originally allocated funds, but the Trust was able to give children at eight primary schools the opportunity to attend a live performance at The Atkinson, who would otherwise not have been able to do so. Free snacks were also provided.

The Trust intends to continue this initiative for the 2020 Christmas panto, Cinderella, with increased funding and with greater emphasis on reaching out to older pupils within the primary sector. Plans are currently on hold until we have a clearer picture of post-COVID-19 audiences.

The ‘Bridging the Gap’ Project

Bridging the Gap was a project developed to support The Atkinson’s inclusion volunteers in designing and delivering inclusive and accessible services for people with learning and sensory support needs. It was delivered for one year from April 2017.

As part of this project, the Trust was delighted to fund ‘The Hideout’, a calm space that was located on the second floor aimed at providing autistic children and their families quiet time whilst visiting The Atkinson.

‘The Hideout’ proved a great success and we hope to revisit this initiative in the future.

New Acquisition: Trial Piece of Akhenaten/Nefertiti

The newest member in our Egyptology collection was displayed in the exhibition, Adventures in Egypt: Mrs Goodison & Other Travellers, 2 January – 10 March 2018.


Conservation of HMS Victory by Richard Henry Nibbs

View the online gallery below to see images of the conservation process.

90th Land Speed Record Anniversary Video

As part of the fantastic 90th Celebration of the Land Speed Record on Wed 16 March 2016 we are delighted to share this video capturing the highlights of the week of festivities. Thanks to Southport Learning Partnership and all the schools involved that week including Birkdale High, Holy Family Primary, Shoreside School and Marshside Primary.

The Atkinson Development Trust is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation Registered Charity Number 1161020.