At 35 I decided to follow my heart and to use my talents to help people in my local community. I took over a disused Nissan Hut as I could see it would provide a beautiful, creative space for all ages. I had support from the local conservation trust, Real Ideas Organisation, my mum (local business leader) and many wonderful friends who wanted to help make the studio work. I knew how I wanted the studio to ‘feel’ so I planned how to decorate it and improve the space. I set up activities for all ages from toddler groups to art work and wellbeing sessions with other local specialists. I have since applied for a number of funding grants to help me run activities for everyone.
What problem are you trying to solve and why?
In our area we have no creative spaces that are flexible for use with all ages and ‘messy’ activities. I wanted the space to be open for anyone to use and to offer a wide range of creative activities to help people overcome mental health, anxiety and loneliness through access to arts, crafts and wellbeing.
What is your target group? Level of impact (concentrated to the specific group, local, regional, wider…)
Families (especially low-income), young people, children, older people and isolated communities. Our main priority is the local area but we are now extending sessions to disadvantaged groups in a wider area.
Is social enterprise the best way they can help?
Yes – we are a Community Interest Company which allows us to apply for grant funding and invest in the local community.
Why this industry/area/topic, and why now?
Creative industries and Wellbeing activity to help families and isolated people improve their mental health in a non-threatening environment. There has been limited investment in South East Cornwall but up to 33% of families live in poverty. Mental health and loneliness are on the increase we provide alternative activities to improve social interaction and wellbeing.
KEY CHALLENGES AND SUCCESS FACTORS
- What drives your motivation? A strong personal desire to help people to be the best they can be, I also want to work in an environment that uses my personal artistic talents.
- Does your job make you compromise with something or make sacrifices? Yes, as a parent with 3 children and many challenges I have to juggle priorities to get everything done. I often sacrifice my personal time and space.
- What does it take to be successful? – Perseverance, creativity and passion. Use help and expertise and help around you to help achieve.
- What are the benefits, both personal and social? A feeling of personal growth and achievement I enjoy the experience of watching people relax and grow through art.
SKILLS AND COMPETENCES
- The most relevant skills and competence to perform your initiative/business successfully – personal resilience, passion, focus and a clear drive to succeed in your goals.
- Specific skills – Qualified artist, statutory requirements e.g. Health & Safety, Safeguarding, IT skills
- Soft skills – Communication, Empathy, Organisational Skills, Problem solving
- Relevant experience – Artist, Running group activities, running businesses, customer service, retail skills