New Hope (previously known as Watford New Hope Trust) was founded in 1990 by two self-styled ‘ordinary house-wives’, Janet Hosier and Sheila Meaning (pictured above), who saw the many people sleeping rough around St Mary’s Church in the centre of Watford and felt

moved to act.  Entertaining Angels – their inspiring story – is available to buy on

the New Hope web site or from any of their shops.

The official launch of New Hope was on 23rd March 1990 at ‘the coaches’ – two

old coaches which had been converted into soup kitchens. 


Situated on the site of an old banana factory on Whippendell Road (now

the home of the Haven Support Centre), the coaches had a counter, a hob and

some benches. Teams of volunteers served soup, hot drinks and sandwiches to

those in need. Then, as now, there was a strong emphasis on offering

friendship and a listening ear alongside practical support.

Today, New Hope is one of the largest providers of homelessness services

in the Home Counties, housing up to 66 people every night and supporting

hundreds more every year.  They now offer a range of accommodation

services the purpose-built Haven Support Centre has long replaced ‘the

coaches’ and their development services help people break free from the cycle of homelessness. 

Although they have grown, their heart has not changed. they are still very much a local charity dependent on the community for volunteers and financial support. To find out how you too can be part of the New Hope story, please go to their web site on :

dedicated to

The exhibition title “Do they know it’s Christmas” came to me immediately when I asked

                                           James to have an exhibition at the Gallery, it represents an era when I had just arrived in

                                           London from Scotland, and the phenomenon that was Band Aid was in full progress.

                                          At first, it represented,  to 21 year old me,  parties, a chance to get together but by the end

                                         of the weekend I had cried along with friends at the injustices in our world shown on the                                                  explicit scenes during the Band Aid campaign, whilst partying with not a care.

                                           Homelessness is something we can all do something about, by tackling mental health                                                       issues, poverty and the lack of affordable housing etc. no excuses – show kindness in the                                                   street, a hot drink, a chat, it doesn’t have to be money. 


                                           So you see the title is perfect for the people who will be freezing, lonely and sad on                                                              Christmas morning” 

Esther Murphy – Founder



James first came to prominence in 2013 when he was chosen to be a

part of The Art Investors’ acclaimed 2013 “Seven Artists Exhibition”,

this exhibition was held at London’s Strand Gallery and focused on 7 of

the very best young Artists in the world. James’ display of his portrayal of

famous musicians was much publicised.

His work took another route in 2015 with his powerful and emotional

studies of homeless people, victims of war and religious martyrs. This

work took him to another level in the art world as he was nominated by

the BP Award, The Royal Institute of Oil Painters and The Royal Institute

Of Portrait Painters culminating in his work being displayed at the iconic

 and famous Mall Gallery in the heart of London. James was selected in

2019 to show his work at the prestigious London Biennial.

James has been described by the German Kunst Heute publication as well as The International Contemporary Art Curators as one of the most significant artists in the world today.  He has thus emerged as one of the foremost pioneers of figurative and hyperrealism painting in Britain today, a fact all the more remarkable since James is a self taught artist.  In 2019 James was awarded first prize at the prestigious London Biennale, the Giotto International Prize and the Leonardo da Vinci International Prize.

Artist Statement – “I have often been asked why I paint homeless people or people on an emotional knife edge.                                                        From a very early age I had always wanted to paint a homeless person, I do not                                                                know why, why would a young boy want to sketch a homeless person rather than a                                                        still life, a landscape or a portrait of someone that they know? I firmly believe there                                                        are some questions that you cannot answer, sometimes your heart tells you                                                                      something and you just have to follow it no matter where it takes you. This is how I                                                          feel. When I paint a still life or any other subject my heart is not there, there is no                                                              emotion yet when I paint a person that has the misfortune of constantly having to                                                          walk on a cliff edge and whose emotions are stretched to the limit my heart beats                                                          faster, my emotions fight with the image, the image is the subject and it is me. I                                                              have been told by many to change subject matters to those that would look nice                                                             on a buyer’s wall. I do not want to. When someone purchases one of my paintings,                                                        they are purchasing a bit of me, a canvas battleground of emotion. This is my                                                                    calling.

                                                       I have met some of the nicest and genuine people on the streets, people who smile and laugh when their physical and emotional pain almost forbids them. If I can raise awareness of this issue through my art then I am a truly happy man as I have achieved what I was told to do.” - James Earley                    

126 High Street




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