CUP is a community interest company limited by guarantee. This means that we have an asset lock and any profits are reinvested into serving the community rather than going to shareholders.
s The company has 3 overall aims:
1. People in Herefordshire do not have the access to the expensive equipment, space and training necessary to create ceramics at beginners, intermediate and advanced level, at an affordable price, all in one place. CUP has begun to successfully provide
2. There are very few opportunities for ceramics graduates to develop artistically post
degree due to low incomes and lack of capital and equipment. Therefore productivity and artistic development decimates and sadly, many do not return to the art.
Undergraduates also have limited resources available to them for ceramics at the local art college. By providing time exchange mentoring placements for ceramics graduates/undergraduates, we help to bridge the gap between education and employment.
3. Hard to reach individuals in the community from low-income/deprived backgrounds, those with mental health barriers to education/life and vulnerable young people and adults do not have the opportunity to benefit from the therapeutic and creative impacts of making ceramics in an inclusive artistic community.
As a social enterprise our profits and grant support is used to benefit the most vulnerable in our community by providing access memberships and contextual group and one to one sessions, giving such people the opportunity to access the creative and therapeutic benefits of working with clay, leading to potential for further training, employment and improved quality of life.
The company runs an open-access community ceramics studio providing access to making for all in Hereford. The studio opened for business on 15th January 2019.
During the financial year 2022-2023, the company’s activities have benefitted the community in the following ways:
A membership of 60 permanent users from a wide demographic of society has been built up and sustained through affordable access. Due to the high frequency of users and using revenue from educational services, costs can be kept to a minimum for our members enabling a diverse membership to be sustained.
Supported 15 studio members to sell their ceramic work through our onsite gallery
5 free public events were held for the local community providing access to creative activities.
A range of creative activities were held for approximately 600 people including those from deprived backgrounds and with barriers to learning.
Opportunities for education and training for 3 graduate and undergraduates giving a springboard to the craft and careers in the industry.
9 time exchange placements were provided- exchanging studio shifts and training for studio access and the use of our facilities.
Paid freelance positions for our Managing Director, Technical director and Catering and Outreach Director were sustained throughout the year.
52 educational workshops were held for approximately 400 adults.
12 workshops were held for 120 young people aged 5-16.
12 access sessions for ASN participants took place.
A series of 8 therapeutic workshops took place for participants associated with Stonebow mental health unit, Hererford.
A partnership with local charity Art 4 Veterans was kick started through a taster workshop.
The company demonstrated a strong sense of environmental sustainability in our practices- renewable energy, reusing, education, waste management.
Our annual survey has shown us that we have already created a community for isolated older people with great success with some success in other demographics.
Our primary target is to focus on the age 11-25 age group due to the mental health issues present in this group, only exacerbated by the pandemic.
The company’s stakeholders are the studio members, course participants and visiting participants from various partnering agencies (charities/schools/Pupil referral units).
The directors carried out extensive research about the social and economic benefits of working with clay and the extent to which there was a need and a want for a studio such as this in the local area including interviewing the general public, interested parties and key people in the third sector and the local arts scene and G.Ps.
During start up the process and continuing now in day to day events and activities, the company has a dedicated group of volunteers from the local area who have helped and will continue to help inform and shape the development of the studio.
Members and participants regularly fill out feedback forms and this data features on the agenda at directors board meetings. This information is then used to improve and inform our decision making going forward.
The company carried out social impact primary research with members and participants (Sample size of 50) and this showed that:
CUP has had a significant impact on your personal well-being…
80% of interviewees feel that it has been very significant (4 or 5 out of 5)
Has attending CUP reduced your stress levels?
70% of interviewees feel that attending has significantly or absolutely reduced stress levels with the remaining 30% selecting ‘mildly’.
Has CUP led to new social connections and friendships?
100% of interviewees affirmed this with 80% selecting ‘many’.
The company will continue to ensure that stakeholders have significant input into our activities and that the quantitative and qualitative data collected becomes richer and more complex.