Test Valley Borough Council has presented local entrepreneur, John Ritchie, with a £500 Business Incentive Grant to support his new business which combines his passion for teaching with his love of art.

John launched The Artroom at Walworth Enterprise Centre, Andover, in May 2015 after a long career as an independent school art teacher. His new venture gives him the flexibility to hold workshops for adults and children of all ages as well as visit schools to inspire youngsters in the classroom. John offers arts and crafts workshops for children and painting and drawing lessons for adults from beginners through to experienced artists. He is currently planning a whole range of Christmas craft activities available to everyone.

John said: “The Artroom has had a great start and I am enjoying being able to teach a range of different art techniques to both children and adults. Art has so much to offer to everyone. Test Valley Borough Council has been so helpful to me in so many ways as I have set up this new venture. I am very grateful for the Business Incentive Grant which will enable me to continue bringing the fun and challenge of art to the people of Andover.”

Andover St Mary’s ward member, Councillor Iris Andersen, said: “The Artroom is a unique small business which is popular in the local community. John clearly loves what he does and his passion shows through in the enthusiasm of his students. I am pleased to present this grant to him and wish him the best of luck in the future.”

The council’s Business Incentive Grant is intended to make a positive contribution towards the cost of starting a new business. Applicants must apply for the grant before they start the new business and the grant is presented six months later. For more information, please visit


Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at