Start Creative is the commercial arm of Start in Salford. The people who work with us are highly trained individuals, all of whom benefit in some way from the creative process that goes into making our products. What’s more, every penny we make goes back into the charity to help us offer more people the chance to grow and shine, and learn new skills.
Our products are made to the highest standards, using a blend of traditional skills with modern techniques and equipment. All materials are ethically sourced from within Greater Manchester, so you can be sure each product benefits the local community and is environmentally sound.
Every product is exquisitely handcrafted, and our Creative Manager oversees all our unique designs and quality assurance. In addition, staff training is delivered by some of the finest craft workers in the region.
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Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.
Updated June 2017
1) Providing commercial experience for those with mental health issues
Start Creative, the trading enterprise of Start in Salford, provides a range of high quality hand crafted products and services to the public, private and social sectors, whilst providing positive commercial experiences to the volunteers who are referred via primary and secondary mental health services in Salford. The people who work with us are highly trained individuals as volunteers at risk of or suffering from mental ill health, all of whom benefit in some way from the creative process that goes into making our products. Start Creative continually develops in response to the needs of the volunteers that engage in the work to provide a vibrant and supportive working environment and retail opportunities for their work.
Our products are made to the highest standards, using a blend of traditional skills with modern techniques and equipment. All materials are ethically sourced from within Greater Manchester, with each product benefiting the local community and is environmentally sound.
Our product range includes:
- Design and manufacture furniture, household furnishing or commercial installation
- Commission, hire and bespoke Yurt construction
- Landscape Design
- Woodland and Green Space Management
Every product is exquisitely handcrafted by our volunteers, and our Creative Manager oversees all our unique designs and quality assurance. In addition, training for the volunteers is delivered by some of the finest craft workers in the region.
Start Creative builds service users fundamental skills along with the acquisition of practical transferable skills, helping them move towards job seeking services and employment. Start Creative, has developed and delivers this extremely successful therapeutic woodworking programme which supports recovery for those at risk of or experiencing mental ill health.
The volunteers at Start Creative are very much part of a team and work in all aspects of the business, from conceptual design, sales and customer service to manufacture, packaging and stock control. It's an important part of their journey to recovery and proven to make a huge difference – improving their wellbeing, raising confidence and building self-esteem.
Beneficiaries of Start Creative have been identified as having the following issues; lack of confidence, self esteem and/or aspirations; lack of concentration and/or motivation; isolation; impaired physical health; reduced emotional resilience; poor quality of life; worklessness and social/community exclusion.
Our therapeutic woodworking builds self confidence; creates a “can-do” approach; increases self-reliance; fuels creativity/creative thinking; increases problem solving ability in everyday life and improved self-esteem.
2) Examples of key outputs and impact
Start Creative offers individual support through personal development plans and consultation exercises to keep our current 46 volunteers on the road to recovery and at the heart of our business model.
Over the last year £1,800 was raised through gift aid and channelled into Start in Salford in support of their creative therapeutic arts delivery. The money was raised through the production and sale of:
- Chopping boards
- Ceramic figures
- Wooden stars
- Wooden Christmas trees
- Wooden bells
Bespoke commissioned work from the public, private and third sectors:
- Raised beds
- Sculptural benches
- Sculpture trail
- Park seating
- Woodland management
- Memorial arch and gate for school garden
- Park structures
- Outdoor classroom
- Notice boards for parks
The above work was undertaken by our volunteers who are at risk of or recovering from mental ill health. All materials are ethically sourced from within Greater Manchester, and as such all products benefit local businesses and the community through being ethical and environmentally sound.
Our regular support and person centred approach to volunteers personal development and through our consultation exercises has found that our volunteers, when rating their mental wellbeing & general wellbeing on a scale of 1 to 10, averaged a score before our interventions of 5.7 – after our interventions this had risen to 8.2. This represents an increase of over 42% in member’s mental health & wellbeing. 92% of our members told us they benefited from increased social contact leading to reduced social isolation with 100% of members who were experiencing self harm/suicidal thoughts reporting reductions in these actions/thoughts.
The outcome most identified by Start Creative beneficiaries and most valued by them is reduced isolation. Start Creative provides a point of contact for new friends and a place of comfort. Reconnecting people to their surroundings as well as reconnecting people with their communities; encouraging friendships, peer support and improved social circles.
Start Creative was featured in the BBC1 documentary ‘Christmas City’. The documentary followed our production of wooden Christmas decorations for sale on our stall at Manchester Christmas markets. It also documents the journey, progress and achievements made by one of Start Creative’s volunteers and evidences that Start Creative really does make a difference. Insight into the ethos of Start Creative is also provided by Start Creative’s manager Ben Thomas.
3) Creating impact - social, economic and environmental
Start Creative provides a safe working and learning environment for its volunteers to come together and improve community cohesion and avoid the problems caused by loneliness, isolation and exclusion; giving them an identity, recognising them for their achievements; instilling pride and motivation along with increasing confidence/self-esteem; providing practical, emotional & intellectual fulfilment that improves the quality of their lives.
Participants are more employable with the skills they acquire, and with the support provided move closer to job seeking services, employment and/or further education. The intervention leads to more people with mental health issues reengaging with work and moving off benefits.
Our products are made to the highest standards, using a blend of traditional skills with modern techniques and equipment by our volunteers. All materials are ethically sourced from within Greater Manchester, and as such all products benefit local businesses and the community whilst being ethical and environmentally sound.
All Start Creative profits are returned back into Start in Salford to enhance and support the delivery of mental health support services that are provide through their therapeutic creative arts programme.
Start Creative creates resilient communities. It is proven that resilient communities deal with environmental problems more effectively. We aim to reduce anti social behaviour and create a culture that no longer tolerates hate crime and vandalism; Start aims to instil renewed pride in a person’s surroundings, impacting how they take care of their green spaces, parks and gardens.
Start creative has, and continues to, impact local policy on green space management within the city of Salford. Through direct partnerships with local trusts and the City council we have affected real change in attitude and implementation of green space management plans, taking an environmental impact approach to tree work, habitat protection and biodiversity. Start creative provides a holistic project delivery service through engaging with local community members and encouraging ownership of green spaces, whilst adhering to an environmentally sensitive long term management plan, and delivering creative refurbishment and improvements to the space. By providing long term vision alongside grass roots community work and through tangible conscious improvements, long term sustainability will be reached.