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Best Shots - Recognising and Rewarding Outstanding Photography

The Best Shots Photographic Competition and Touring Exhibition is a charitable fundraising activity that is open to photographers on a worldwide basis.

Proceeds from entry fees, photographic sales and donations created by Best Shots go to support the heritage restoration charity that was responsible for the highly successful regeneration of the Victorian railway station in Richmond, North Yorkshire. This same charity, the Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust, continues to act as the guardian for this historically significant building. The charity is also constituted to take on further heritage restoration projects on a district-wide basis.

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of numerous individuals, businesses and organisations, the majority of the costs associated with staging this ambitious event have been underwritten, which means that your involvement in Best Shots will be that much more worthwhile to the charity.

The Station, Richmond

The Station - Richmond - North Yorkshire - It's amazing what a little charity can do

The conversion of Richmond’s deserted Victorian railway terminus into the award-winning facility it is today required £2.7m, a five year campaign plus thousands of hours of volunteer time. The small local heritage charity that undertook all of the necessary work to make this possible continues to operate the building today, as a not-for-profit social enterprise.

The Station, Under Construction
The Station, Under Construction

As an attraction, there really is nothing quite like The Station. While sensitively conserving and restoring the original design elements which gave the building its unique character, a number of thoroughly modern new features have been incorporated into the redevelopment including a two- screen cinema, showing the latest releases, a large and stylish restaurant, rooms for meetings and conferences, a heritage centre, offices, six local artisan food-producers plus thousands of square feet of gallery space to display art and photography.

The Gallery & Seasons Restaurant
The Gallery & Seasons Restaurant

The Station - A self-sustaining charitable business

The charity that operates the building charges rent to the tenants that occupy the eleven units it has created, on long term leases, as well as hiring meeting rooms to businesses and community organisations on an hourly or daily basis. In addition to these two sources of revenue, The Station also regularly stages major exhibitions and events, that besides bringing thousands of visitors to Richmond, also earns the charity valuable extra income.

The charity only has a staff of three-and-half plus a small team of cleaners. They care for the building, maintain the accounts, market the facilities and coordinate a large group of volunteers that play a variety of vital roles within the organisation.

The income that the charity generates pays to keep The Station looking sparkling, as well as reinvesting in a large range of subsidised public activities.

Art Classes
Art Classes at The Station

Has the project been successful for the charity, the tenants and the public?

The answer to this question must be an unqualified ‘Yes’! The charity raised all the capital necessary to undertake the restoration of the building through thousands of private donations, charitable gifts and major grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire Forward and the European Union.

The Station has won a series of local, regional and national awards for its sensitive design characteristics, its heritage preservation credentials and its social entrepreneurial flair. It has been honoured by a royal visit from their RHS The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

The project has featured in countless magazine and newspaper articles plus radio and television programmes including a four week nationally broadcast BBC 1 series called Homes Live.

Tenants report successful trading conditions and although there have been some changes from the original mix of businesses in the building the charity has been able to keep virtually all of the space it has available fully occupied.

Food Fair
Food Fair

Read the Yorkshire Forward Case StudyWith around 350,000 visitors each year, The Station is by far the regions most popular attraction. People love the special feeling that the building conveys and use it with great regularity. It is welcoming to everyone and consequently the demographic spread of visitors is very wide, from infants to octogenarians. The socio-economic composition of visitors is equally diverse.

The Heritage Lottery Fund and Yorkshire Forward considered The Station to be an exemplar project and have independently produced printed ‘case study’ documents so that other organisations can better understand how the charity achieved such a positive result for the building and the local economy whilst hopefully benefiting from these experiences.

Best Shots - When entering a photographic competition is an act of charity...

As you explore the Best Shots site, we hope that you are genuinely excited by both the competition and the exhibition... so much so that you decide to enter some of your own photographs.

We very much appreciate your interest and look forward to seeing your images.

Best wishes for now,

Donald Cline - Best Shots Event Manager

Best of the Best

An Extra £1,000 Prize for Your Favourite Photographer... Great Prizes for You.

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From Joe Cornish, Chair of Judges

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