What's in the bag?

Finley's Touch officially launched on Finley's 9th Birthday, 7th July 2022.  They started supporting children diagnosed with cancer in Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and The Royal Alexandra in Brighton. They have now expanded to three more hospitals.

The charity's mission is to supply 'Hospital Survival Bags', spreading fun, happiness and hope through a long admission, and also provide financial grants to families undergoing cancer treatment in Sussex.


These bags look like a lot of fun and to find out more go to www.finleystouch.org.uk or click on one of the many links scattered throughout the festival website. Better still why not attend some of the many events on during festival week where you’ll be able to meet members of the ‘Finley’s Touch’ team and hear first-hand how you can make such a difference to children and their families in the local area and across the county.

The Search Has Begun.

This year HHGT will be a one day contest held at Haywards Heath Social club on Wivelsfield Road. For contestants’ the entry is free and anyone aged 12 and over with a performance talent can enter. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian -there is no upper age limit

Last we were bowled over by the standard of competitors which saw the amazing Daisy Leppard crowned the winner.   We’re looking forward to seeing who we get this year…... could it be you or someone you know?

We are grateful to our brilliant sponsors Mike Oliver from Mike Oliver Associates and Jo Saady of Ecotecture for making it possible and HHSC for the use of their premises and support.

Judges this year will be Dave Rowntree (drummer of the legendary band Blur) ,Cylvian Flynn (diva & singer songwriter) , Rory Indiana Kaye (Songwriter, musician and director of Rok skool Haywards Heath), Jamie Di Francescomarino (journalist and editor RH Uncovered magazine) and award winning businesswoman Rachel Watkyn OBE.

Like all the events during festival week the proceeds will be going to a fantastic local charity Finley’s Touch helping support children with cancer and their families.

So whether you’re up for showcasing your talent, or just in need of a great night out Haywards Heath Social Club is the place to be on Friday the 28th of June.

Announcing Finley’s Touch as the Official Charity for the 2024 Haywards Heath Arts Festival

We are thrilled to announce that

Finley’s Touch has been selected as the official charity partner for the

Haywards Heath Arts Festival 2024.

Finley’s Touch is a remarkable local charity dedicated to supporting children with cancer and their families. Founded in memory of the brave young soul, Finley Edward Relf, this Haywards Heath based organisation embodies resilience, compassion, and unwavering hope. Despite facing the challenges of childhood cancer, Finley battled his illness heroically, undergoing three stem cell transplants. Tragically, he could not be cured and passed away on December 6, 2021, at the tender age of 8.

Finley touched everyone he met, leaving an indelible mark on hearts. His legacy continues to inspire, and the charity has been set up in his name to support others going through similar situations. Finley’s Touch spreads joy, happiness, and hope to children during their most difficult moments. They recognise that cancer affects not only the child but also their entire family, providing essential support to parents, siblings, and caregivers. Moreover, they actively engage the local community, fostering unity and purpose.

Why Finley’s Touch?

  • Spreading Joy: Through creative programs, events, and emotional support, Finley’s Touch creates a sense of normalcy and happiness for young patients.
  • Family Support: Ensuring that no one faces this journey alone, they provide essential support to parents, siblings, and caregivers.
  • Community Engagement: Finley’s Touch encourages everyone to contribute to their cause, whether through fundraising events, awareness campaigns, or volunteering.

Get Involved

We invite all festival attendees, artists, and supporters to join hands with Finley’s Touch during the Haywards Heath Arts Festival. Here’s how you can make a difference:

  1. Donate: Every contribution counts! Your donations directly impact the lives of children battling cancer.
  2. Attend Festival Events: Throughout the festival our events will be dedicated to raising funds for Finley’s Touch.
  3. Spread the Word: Attending a festival event? Tell the world all about it on social media. Use the hashtag #FinleysTouch to raise awareness and inspire others to get involved.

Join Us in Making a Difference

The Haywards Heath Arts Festival is not just about celebrating creativity; it’s also about giving back to our community. Let’s come together, celebrate art of all genre’s and support Finley’s Touch in their mission to bring smiles and hope to children facing adversity.

Mark your calendars: 21st - 30th June 2024. See you at the festival.

To find out more about Finley's Touch Click Here.

Event Postponed

We’d like to apologise to those of you who had booked tickets, or were interested in attending ‘An Evening with Dirk Maggs’.

Unfourtunaley due to professional commitments  he’s had to cancel his appearance with us this year. However, we are assured that he’ll be with us for 2025.

Refunds will be sent automatically by our ticketing partner Ticketsource.

The Arts Festival Hits The Airwaves

On Wednesday the 22nd of November Festival Organiser, Colin Kenward and Sean Lesponera who exhibited a selection of his vast collection of movie props as part of this year’s festival were guests on the ‘Simply Redhead’ show on Mid Downs Radio.

Sean told listeners about his love for the movies and how he started collecting props. He also recounted stories of life as an ‘Extra’. If you look closely you’ll see him in ‘Goldeneye’, ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Spiceworld – The Movie’!

Colin was on hand to give an update on all things festival and reveal that thanks to the generosity of all the many people that attended the many events held at this years festival the sum of £3000 was donated to our chosen charities - Hope and Homes for Children and the MNDA.  Colin also went on to explain how people can get in touch and what they can do to if they want to help with next years event.

Colin also had a few lucky guesses during the movie quiz organised by the host and friend of the festival – Wendy Swinton-Eagle.

To hear the show featuring Sean and Colin  - Click Here.

To find out more about Mid Downs Radio and to listen in online just Click Here.

Sponsorship with the Haywards Heath Arts Festival is an excellent and very affordable way to get your name or business noticed around town to thousands of people and potential new customers.

Building on our reputation from last year’s first ever arts festival in Haywards Heath we are looking to improve on the diverse range of content from last year and our reach into the community. As well as having a lot of fun along the way we’ll also be raising much needed funds for our charity partner ‘Hope and Homes for Children’ and their efforts to help the children caught up in the conflict in Ukraine.

You can also be part of this inclusive community event so if you’re able to assist please get in contact with the organising committee by emailing enquiries@haywardsheathartsfestival.co.uk

We are also on the lookout for volunteers to assist with tasks. These might be distributing leaflets, helping to curate at an exhibition or helping to collect charitable donations at our events. The list goes on. So if you have a few hours to spare and you’d like to be part of festival week please drop as line at the email address above.

Your Kind Donations Making Such a Difference.

On Friday October the 7th 2022 committee members from the Haywards Heath Arts Festival travelled to the Guildhall in Salisbury to attend the ‘Hope and Homes for Children’ supporter day.

Members heard first-hand how their efforts were making a positive impact in Ukraine. As a brief appraisal of the situation here is what Hope and Homes for Children say on their website.


‘Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, countless families have been torn apart by brutal bombing and bloodshed. As well as losing family members in the fighting, over six million people have fled across the border, leaving loved ones, livelihoods and almost everything they owned behind. Families are getting separated in the chaos, and children are travelling, unaccompanied, into foreign countries.


This war is not merely a humanitarian crisis for the people of Ukraine, but for the world. It has created a child protection emergency across the region. And it has exposed Ukraine’s vast system of orphanages, housing 100,000 children – many of whom have been left to face the dangers of war alone.


Hope and Homes for Children is working together with our local partners across Ukraine, Romania and Moldova to support the most vulnerable children and families on the brink of survival.  Since February 2022 we’ve already supported more than 13,000 children in Ukraine, and over 9,000 refugees across Romania and Moldova.’

As well as the crisis in Ukraine Members also heard about the charities inspiring projects around the world. Since 1994, Hope and Homes for Children has been working to stop the institutionalisation of children. They are 200 people, in multiple countries, inspiring organisations, including the UN, EU and governments around the world, to close the doors of orphanages forever. Orphanages that don’t help children but harm them. Children who grow up in orphanages routinely suffer violence, abuse and neglect. The charity aim to fight for every child to feel the love and belonging of a safe family home.

Thank you so much for your support of our chosen charity patner. 

You can read much more about the work of Hope and Homes for Children here.