Top TV designer steps in to help Leeds artist

HE'S the man behind Britain's Best Home – and he is now helping those who hope to match his achievements.

Ben Huckerby, one of Leeds's brightest young interior designers, will spend the next year mentoring up-and-coming artist Oliver Neilson.

The Apprentice-style link-up came about after Ben offered to sponsor a category at the emerging artists awards, run by Artsmix, a not-for-profit scheme run to nurture artistic talent in Leeds.

Oliver has already been handed some top tips from his mentor, who advised him on ways to present his work at a show in Trinity Church, Leeds, and then at the Bradford Mela Festival.

As the year goes on, Ben will offer advice on ways Oliver can generate and develop ideas and get his work into the public eye.

He will include Oliver in ongoing projects, and hold regular one-to-one mentoring sessions with him.

And on top of that, Ben arranged for Oliver's work to be displayed at the re-launch of luxury home design showroom, Pure Design. Ben said: "I see this award as a great opportunity to work alongside and mentor an emerging artist and support their development in the bespoke interior design market.

"Working with Oliver will be a lesson for me too as it will mark my first mentor role so I'm certain the outcome will prove beneficial to the both of us."

Oliver said the start of the mentoring scheme was the beginning of an exciting new chapter for him.

"It really excites me as it sees me stepping into new territory," he said.

"With the various events coming up over the coming months too, I think this will be a good year."

Ben, who has run his own design company for six years, saw his work at Carr Hall Castle push the Grade II listed building to the title of Britain's Best Home.

A former student at Leeds Metropolitan University, he was commissioned to make the castle over, when aged just 22, by city entrepreneur Terry George.

Since then, he has made his mark on Leeds bars Fibre, Oracle and OK Karaoke as well as restaurants Noodle, Waterfront and Battered.

For more on Artsmix, visit

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

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