05th March 2014

Creative Commmunity: Empowering People

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The craft revolution is here. We highlight one organisation that is embracing culture and is empowering creative community. We take a look at one such organisation, the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise in Ashford, Kent to see how crafts are bringing a community together

Hidden away in the bustling town centre of Ashford, Kent lies the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise. But the organisation has been making waves in the local community and further beyond with their creative events and outreach programmes.

The centre acts as a gallery for local artists and craftspeople to sell their work, and offers a community of like minded people where all are welcome to learn new skills and practice their creativity in a friendly environment, it’s making an influence in the creative community.

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Betsy Aidinyantz runs the organisation with her team of volunteers and supporters. Her aim is to bring culture and art to the town of Ashford and further, but the not-for-profit arm of the centre helps give people the skills to start their own creative businesses.

“Everyone is creative, they just need to find what they are good at. We provide skills and a friendly environment where people can learn new skills. We’re like a big family, we talk to each other and we peer mentor each other.

We ran a project last year in Gravesend helping women get back into work. Of the sixty women who joined us, fourty eight went on to start their own businesses, return to work or continue their education. In the three years we’ve been running we’ve helped over five hundred people start their own businesses. That’s a huge achievement, and we’re very proud of it.”

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The accomplishments of the Ashford centre is something that all creative groups in the country can use to inspire success. In the last few years craft clubs have seen a resurgence and communities are starting to understand the need for strong local craft groups. The economic climate of recent years means that community enterprise is more important than ever, and creating a creative community is a way we can help people feel part of something great.

Many people feel isolated from the rest of the community and society, but finding a common interest with a group of people can help greatly in including people back into their communities. Craft is something that has an inherent feeling of accomplishment and it’s great to see more and more people picking up handiwork. Organisations like the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise give people the kickstart they need to start making, creating and hopefully earning an income from their creative skills.

“If you can’t afford it, make it yourself” says Betsy. At Toyota we strongly believe that creating the things you want is a lot better than buying them, not only for your bank account but also for your own sense of achievement and positivity.

Check out our sewing ideas page to see what you can make, join the Oekaki Club to become part of an online community proudly making and creating.

Follow the Centre for Creativity and Enterprise on Facebook.

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