Cambridge and Counties Bank Support the Next Generation

Cambridge & Counties Bank love to work with charities. Over the past year with funding awarded from the bank via the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation, Soft Touch Arts has been able to pilot a Creative Enterprise Project, giving new opportunities and support to 24 young people aged 16-25 involved with the charity. Through one to one and group enterprise sessions they have gained skills in making, marketing and selling their art, craft, fashion and photography work.

These talented young people all have life challenges which hold them back, such as anxiety, difficult family relationships or other issues. Many struggle in mainstream education and with the life-skills and experience they need to get a job.

Soft Touch Arts has helped young people to sell their work at local events, online through the Soft Sell area of our website and by supporting them to undertake art and photography commissions for businesses such as Eileen Richards Recruitment, Fothergill Wyatt and Way of Life Apartments.  The project has helped young people with their confidence and self belief, with communication skills and with transferrable employment skills.

  • Five of the young people have gone on to get jobs and others are considering careers via further education in areas such as photography and fashion.
  • Four are working towards set up their own lifestyle businesses.
  • Young people have also gained cooking and catering skills through volunteering in our weekly pop-up cafes.

You can take a look at some of their work here.

This is what some of the young people said about the project:

“The creative sessions have provided me with a time that I can focus on making art or editing my on-line business profile on Instagram. I also get ideas and feedback from other members.”  

“It’s made me more confident going to new places and meeting new people. It has helped with my anxiety too; a year ago, I would have never met with a mentor that I didn’t know. 

“I felt excited when someone bought one of my photographs at the market event – it meant so much to me and I have loved the opportunities to get out and about and sell around Leicester”

“From being depressed after college about to give up all hope of having a job in the writing industry, this programme has changed my life. I now have a job at Niche Magazine thanks to the support of Soft Touch’s Creative Enterprise Programme and advice from a local businesswoman!”

“The weekly meetings motivated me to start thinking about setting up my own freelance business – something I wouldn’t have considered in my wildest dreams!”

You can see some of the creative work on display at our Creative Enterprise Exhibition 6-20th September, 11-4pm at Soft Touch Arts, 50 New Walk, Leicester LE1 6TF.   

If you would like to attend the private view of the exhibition (5-7pm on Thurs 5/9/19) to meet the young people involved and enjoy an evening of networking with refreshments please email holly@soft-touch.org.uk