ACE appeal

Preserving the past to safeguard the future.

Appeal to purchase The Old Town Hall, Somerton.


I hope the following helps you to understand how important the Old Town Hall building is to ACE, the charities aims and to the community.  It plays a pivotal role in all the creative facets of the charity and its activities. Feedback from our recent resident survey emphasised the desire to preserve the building as the centre of ACE’s activities in the town and in it remaining a focal point from which all our work is generated.

Nina Gronw-Lewis MA

Gallery manager


Why is there a need to buy the building?

From the beginning it has always been ACE’s  intention to purchase The Old Town Hall for the financial stability of the charity and the future of ACEarts within it. It will also ensure the building remains an integral part of the historic town centre and finally, it will allow us to make vital improvements to the accessibility of the building.

ACE plans for our future

ACEarts ongoing operational costs have had to take priority in the last five years, so although we have strived to build a designated fund for the purchase of the building it is only recently we have started to see the pot increasing and that along with the support of our local community gives us real hope that we can successfully achieve our goal.



Building purchase including fees £250,000, broken down as follows:

Building 230,000

Valuation and survey 5400, including VAT

Fees 4200, including VAT

Stamp duty 1600

Contingency 8800


Our visitor numbers are increasing year on year and some of our facilities are outdated and not do not meet all the needs of every visitor, for these improvements additional funding will be required.


The current owners are Shen Properties LTD



How you can help us reach our goal:

Please support our appeal and help us secure our future for the benefit of our local and extended community. Every penny raised helps us achieve our target.

How you can help:

  • Make a donation
  • Corporate support
  • Provide a grant
  • Fundraise for us

As a thank you for your generosity everyone who contributes to our appeal will be included on our wall of appreciation.

Deposits can be made to our dedicated building fund account for the purchase and improvement of The Old Town Hall, please use the reference Old Town Hall when making a deposit.

Natwest bank




Need a bit more background to the Charity, the people and our work? Please read on…


What is ACE?


Art Care Education (ACE) is a registered charity no 1166886 set up in 2016.

Our primary aims are to provide art and creative activity to inspire, empower and enable people to develop and grow, and preserve The Old Town Hall as an exhibition space for the benefit of the local community.


What is ACEarts?


ACEarts, run by the charity ACE, opened in the historic Old Town Hall in 2017. Our diverse and inspiring exhibition programme forms the basis of our community engagement art projects with groups, local schools and elders.

Based in the heart of Somerton, showcasing local and national artists work ACEarts is dedicated to promoting artist and makers and aims to showcase and support local artisans through our contemporary craft shop.  Profits from this trading help to subsidise our community engagement and outreach work.

What we do:

  • give a warm welcome to 20,000+ visitors per year
  • hold 15-20 varied and inspiring exhibitions per year
  • showcase over 100 local artist’s work in our gallery shop
  • support emerging artists at the beginning of their career
  • mentor artists to enable then to hold their first solo exhibition
  • deliver high quality creative workshops
  • provide creative sessions in schools and community spaces
  • promote positive mental health thorough creative wellbeing sessions


How we do it:

Much of our outreach work in the community relies on us actively fundraising, with all donations helping to fund our education programme.

Profits from our exhibitions and contemporary craft shop sales subsidise this work.

We also apply for grants to funders, accept cash or contactless donations in our building and undertake fundraising events.

We are proud of our light and airy gallery spaces, where we hold professionally curated exhibitions. Our contemporary craft shop showcases a selection of the best work by artisans and makers from the South West alongside carefully sourced cards and gifts.


What is the value and impact of our work?

For the first four months of 2022 we

  • Welcomed 8000+ Visitors to our shop and gallery
  • Showcased 100 local artist’s work
  • planned 20 exhibitions from our 2022 programme
  • Supported 16 emerging artists
  • Provided educational talks for 120 members of the community
  • Held 40 Creative activity sessions in the gallery space
  • Provided 100 opportunities for family friendly learning
  • Hosted 90 school children in the gallery
  • Programmed 90 creative activity sessions outside of the gallery


Who are the people?




Sir (John) Sebastian Chance Bt (Chair)

Sebastian has a BA Hons Fine Art, his career has been in art education in various parts of the UK. He is a sculptor and artist and now lives locally. He has been a Trustee since March 2018.


Shirley Chapman

Shirley has worked in Building Society financial management and is a retired Assistant Director Community Services (Somerset Care). She is now a freelance finance administrator working for a Somerton based business. Shirley is Vice Chair and Treasurer and has been a Trustee since Jan 2017.


Alyson Martin MBE

After a long career in Social Care, Alyson retired as CEO for Somerset Care in 2015. Since then she has been Care Director for a local Somerton business and lives locally. She has been a Trustee since July 2016.


Lucy Knapp

Young Trustee since November 2021.


Geoffrey Bertram

Geoffrey Bertram has over forty years’ experience of working with modern and contemporary art from working in galleries in Edinburgh, Toronto and London. After moving to Somerset he set up Bertram Arts which promoted the work of Somerset artists through exhibitions and art fairs. Between 2008 and 2012 he was the curator for the Art for Life programme at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton.

From 2005 to March 2019 Geoffrey was chair of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust, a charity established by the renowned St Andrews/St Ives artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004). Besides an ongoing love for contemporary art his current focus is on old master prints. Trustee since January 2022.


Andrew Elfick

A local resident, Andrew trained as a Business Systems Analyst and worked in the financial industry for several years before starting a small Management Consultancy specialising in change and project management.  He moved from South East London to the Somerset Levels in 2002 before moving into South Petherton in 2018.  He has been active with ACEarts from its early days and became a Trustee in 2020.



Nina Gronw-Lewis MA – Gallery manager since 2016. Nina is an experienced curator and creative facilitator with an MA in Fine Art from Bath Spa University, RWA artist network member and active member of seam collective.


Lydia Needle MA – Part time Outreach Co-ordinator. Lydia is an eco artist with an MA in Fine Art from Bath Spa, seam collective member and lead artist of the Fifty Bees project. She moved away from mainstream teaching to pursue community based arts alongside her professional practice.


Karon Brine BA– Gallery assistant. Karon has a BA in Fine Art from Guildhall University, Whitechapel. She is an experienced sales assistant working part time alongside her own art practice.


Olivia Peace BA–Part time trainee curator, Olivia has a BA in Fine Art. She is also a Young Trustee for Somerset Art Works (SAW).


Lucy Knapp – Business Administration Apprentice, Lucy is also a Young Trustee for ACE.


Sara Powell – Part time Fundraising officer. Sara moved to Somerton in 2019 having semi-retired from a career as a PA and Business Administrator. She was responsible for the set up and running of a community fund for the charity she worked for in Buckinghamshire.


Contact one of the team

Nina Gronw-Lewis, Gallery Manager,

Sara Powell, Fundraiser,

Shirley Chapman, Treasurer,

or call the gallery 01458 273008