Received grant of £36,942 from Comic Relief
Red Nose Day is back on Friday 24th March and the people of Wales are being encouraged to put on a Red Nose and make their laughs matter to help projects across the country, like Arts Factory in Ferndale.
Arts Factory is a social enterprise which runs an online book shop, a graphic design agency and provides office space for local groups and businesses to hire. The three ventures offer life-changing work experience opportunities for local people who, because of disability, learning difficulties or life circumstances, need a supportive environment in which to build skills and confidence.
Established in 1990, Arts Factory started as a small group of local people who wanted to work together to improve life in the Rhondda Valley. They decided to create an organisation which would revitalize the area and challenge stereotypical beliefs about its residents.
The Comic Relief grant helps to cover Arts Factory’s running costs, as well as helping to fund legal and financial advice. The grant has been invaluable in helping to secure the project’s future and help the team plan for its future development.
Martyn volunteered at Arts Factory for two years. Martyn had been unemployed for a significant amount of time meaning he lacked confidence in working environments.
Martyn said: ‘The experience I gained at Arts Factory has improved my confidence, my work skills and provided a great environment with friendly workmates. I started by listing books for the online book shop and as my confidence grew I moved to help with sales and then to customer service.
‘I was unemployed for so long that I stopped thinking I would ever get a job. Now thanks to the experience and confidence I gained at Arts Factory I have a new job with the Royal Mail in Llantrisant. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities Arts Factory has given me in the last two years.’
Lisa Wills, Head of Operations at Arts Factory, said: ‘Our volunteering opportunities support people from all walks of life who want to make things better for themselves. I have been here for 18 years and it is so rewarding to be a part of the incredible journeys people take to change their lives for the better.
‘We’re so grateful to Comic Relief for the funding they’ve given us, as it has helped secure Arts Factory’s future and make sure we can continue as a robust organisation to support our local community.’
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