A £10,000 national art prize was launched today by a Cumbrian art gallery – with all entry fees going to a youth charity.

Steve and Christine Swallow, owners of the Castlegate Gallery in Cockermouth, have launched the project to highlight mental health.

The Castlegate Prize opens for entries on November 23, and money raised will go to the mental health charity YoungMinds.

For the inaugural £10,000 prize, funded by the gallery, artists must take the word ‘hope’ as the inspiration for their painting or drawing.

All the £20 entry fees will be donated to the UK’s leading charity fighting for young people’s mental health.

Steve said: “Mental health charities are very close to our hearts, and those supporting youth mental health in particular.

“We believe this truly is a unique art competition, one that can inspire artists and do some actual good at the same time.

“YoungMinds is a truly excellent charity whose work brings hope to young people and also their families who may be going through difficult times too.

“Because of this, we chose ‘hope’ as the most appropriate word to inspire entries for the inaugural Castlegate Prize.

“It’s up to each artist to take that inspiration in whatever manner they see fit.”

Steve and Christine will will be judges, along with Cumbria-based former John Moores Painting Prize winner Martin Greenland, British contemporary painter and printmaker Eileen Cooper RA, OBE, and writer, broadcaster and journalist Stuart Maconie.

Vanessa Longley, Director of Development at YoungMinds, said: “We are thrilled to receive support from Castlegate House Gallery through The Castlegate Prize.

“Their contribution will ensure that we can continue our vital work fighting for the mental health of children and young people across the UK.

"We look forward to seeing how the artists interpret the theme of the prize.”

Entries for the Castlegate Prize close on February 14. The winner will be announced on May 2 with the best 30 works exhibited at the gallery for the following three weeks.

Entrants must be 16 or over. For more information see www.thecastlegateprize.co.uk www.youngminds.org.uk www.castlegatehouse.co.uk/