Pontypridd social enterprise to offer opportunities for creativity, literacy and learning for all with new community hub
Art In the Attic Co-operative CIC is set to be a cultural hub for art, music, crafts, literature and writing with a particular focus on community engagement.
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The co-operative recently became incorporated under the guidance of Social Business Wales New Start and together have managed to navigate the challenges of starting and running the social business amid a global crisis.
Jeffrey Baxter, a founding member of Art in the Attic, praised the support available and the mentorship for helping to reach the milestone:
“As a fledgling organisation the support we have received from Social Business Wales New Start and the Wales Co-operative Centre has been invaluable as we navigate the complexities of developing our project. Both in terms of vision and mission and in regard to the legal processes of setting up a social enterprise.”
Having now secured the lease for the building to house the hub, the plan is to develop the café, bookshop and workshop spaces, allowing artists to collaborate, share knowledge and develop their creative skills in the community.
By making spaces available for hire by the community, the hope is that the hub will be the go-to place for collaboration and shared learning – with a particular emphasis on promoting literacy as well as creativity.
“The Covid-19 pandemic was potentially a significant blow to our progress but the flexibility and innovative use of technology from the Wales Co-operative Centre and Social Business Wales New Start has meant we have stayed on track"
Although still in its formative stages and having experienced significant challenges, the team behind the budding social enterprise have remained determined and focussed on the vision. It certainly hasn’t been all plain sailing, as Jeff explains:
“The Covid-19 pandemic was potentially a significant blow to our progress but the flexibility and innovative use of technology from the Wales Co-operative Centre and Social Business Wales New Start has meant we have stayed on track, not just with the circulation of documents, email etc, but also the use of video technology ensuring that all the participants have been supported to input fully into the discussion and decision-making process.”
Starting from a “blank canvas”, among the exciting plans are a regular film club night, exhibitions and classes with at least five events a week in the hub which local people can rely on and become invested in as their own.
As part of this, the co-operative will help build a network of artists from the surrounding area, particularly Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Tydfil, to showcase and sell work.
Once established, the big picture for Art in the Attic is to generate a self-sustaining income with less reliance on grants, offering job opportunities and establishing a strong physical connection to the existing Olive’s Attic, other local businesses and community groups.
Jeff credits the resilience of sector which is seeing the emergence of exciting start-up social enterprises as many consider what they want their new normal to look like in the midst of the current climate:
“In these testing times, it’s heartening to see how start-up social businesses are able to operate and the value the place on support from the Social Business Wales New Start team.”
If you have a social business idea and want to learn more about the support available from Social Business Wales New Start, book on to one of our regional ‘Start Something Good’ regional webinars or get in touch with the New Start team to see how they can help.
Art in the Attic Co-operative CIC has received business consultancy support and advice from Social Business Wales New Start, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre.
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