CUP is a community interest company that runs an open-access community ceramics
studio providing access to making ceramics for all in Hereford. The company has 3
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 2018-2019, the company’s activities have benefitted the community in the following ways:
Between January and March 2019 a membership of 35 permanent users from students to OAPs has been built up through affordable access. Due to the high frequency of users and large studio space, costs can be kept to a minimum for our members enabling a diverse membership to be sustained.
80 course participants passed through the studio doors at beginner level, with a significant number continuing their practice to intermediate and developing their craft as members.
2 successful sessions with 40 primary school children attend St.Martin’s Primary school, Hereford. These particular participants reside in a deprived part of the city where access to working with clay was a first for all involved.
Regular one on one sessions with 3 young people attending St.Davids Pupil Referral Unit were held. These students had particular barriers with self confidence and acceptance and the sessions helped to build confidence and widen horizons for possible careers in craft/working with their hands.
Successful introductory sessions with 3 groups of 10 children from Rainbow nursery (aged 3-5) were held with a view to making this an annual event that enriches the Rainbow Nursery syllabus.
Placements began working with Phoenix fostering to provide sessions for a looked after child (LAC) in their care and this has had very positive impacts so far in confidence building and skill development
A series of 3 sessions in conjunction with Vision Links and The Courtyard Creative ageing project were carried out. During these sessions blind and elderly participants took part in hand making a variety of functional and decorative ware and returned to paint and glaze their items that were also fired to finished ceramic pieces.
In 2019, time exchange placements for 12 undergraduates (Aged 18-22) from Hereford College of Arts took place. A very successful partnership has developed that provides undergraduates with much needed studio time, skills and artistic development in return for contributions to studio operations (which also educates the students about studio management).
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.