After re-branding in 2017 with the help of brand agency Narrative Communications, 2018 has been the year that we really got stuck into the delivery of some of our ambitious plans.
Our 2018-2022 business plan was signed off by our board of trustees in March. This document sets out a road map for how, over the next four years, we will achieve financial sustainability as a modern charity and realise our goal to provide a centre for applied creativity in Leeds; serving the North and exporting our consultancy services and e-learning products around the globe.
By December we had taken several concrete steps towards achieving this goal. We have launched and delivered a growing range of commercial consultancy and training services aimed at supporting the business community and also educators. These services have included our widely tried and tested Unconscious Bias training which develops a business’s competitive capability through the recruitment of a diverse and therefore creative workforce. We have worked on a new cutting edge Creative Competency diagnostic tool to help businesses (and recruitment specialists) assess a candidates capacity for innovation in a world where creativity and innovation are becoming more and more important as core skills. We also piloted our hugely well received Developing Creative Leaders programme with Altrad, a global leader in the provision of Industrial Services for the Oil & Gas, Energy, Power Generation, Environment and Construction sectors where we helped to deliver their own ‘Fit 4 Future’ future leaders programme. This has led to many other pieces of work with a range of clients that include the Leeds City Region Employment & Skills team, CoreCom who are specialist recruiters for the tech sector and Narrative Communications our very own brand agency who all used our training as part of their own staff development programmes.
We are thrilled that during 2019 we will be working with IBM’s European team to further develop their ‘Future Ready’ leadership programme and with the Engineering and Construction Industry Trade Board in a similar capacity. In the formal education sector our refreshed Developing Independent Learners Continuing Professional Development programme, piloted in Hastings, was well received by delegates at the Royal Shakespeare Companies education conference in Stratford and subsequently in schools in both the East Riding and North Yorkshire.
Our final ‘first’ for 2018 was our innovative Creative Feasibility work with Thomas Lister Surveyors who, working on behalf of the Homes Agency asked us to help them find a creative new use for the Grade II listed Magistrates Court building in the centre of Halifax that had become surplus to requirements. This successful piece of pre-marketing feasibility work resulted in a second contract with the same company to look at ways of re-purposing a fascinating 1950’s Nuclear Bunker in Nottingham and that work is currently underway.
It’s important to point out that the profits from this growing array of creative commercial services go toward a collection of charitable projects that support growing numbers of the region’s young people who are considered ‘at risk’ or vulnerable. Our work focuses on providing inspiring work experience opportunities and on-going career development support for our young people, mostly but not exclusively in the creative industries – an economic growth sector out-stripping any other in the region.
In July we hosted our very first Young Artists Auction that showcased and sold eighty original artworks by young people aged between 11 and 18 years with sixty percent of the proceeds going back to the artists themselves. The forty percent we took as ‘commission’ of course went back into the charity to contribute to future projects and initiatives that support young people considered ‘at risk’. Many of the young people involved received a huge confidence boost seeing their work exhibited in a professional gallery setting with an event audience of more than a hundred people. Witnessing their work being sold for several hundred pounds, purchased by Yorkshire-based businesses has resulted in many of them further pursuing careers in the creative sector. A real success story that we are now going to make an annual event.
Also in June last year, we were delighted to receive confirmation from the Arts Council that they wished us to continue our Bridge contract until 2022 when that funding stream will end. That will see ten years of continuous Arts Council investment into the region to solely focus on improving access to the arts and culture for all children and young people. By the end of 2018 we recorded that 6,548 young people had achieved an Arts Award and 387 schools registered for Artsmark. We have also supported the development of fifteen Local Cultural Education Partnerships which means there is a dedicated professional partnership in each local authority area in Yorkshire & Humber dedicated to improving the cultural lives of our children and young people. From 2019 and over the next three years we will be investing approximately a million pounds into partnerships through strategic collaborations that can find suitable match funding. Another exciting prospect.
Last but by no means least our staff team goes from strength to strength. During the year we welcomed Sarah Mulryan and April Shilston to the team as Project Support Officers and at the close of 2018 we also welcomed Sharon Le Goff as our new Sales & Marketing Manager and Becky Crump our Ignite Yorkshire Project Coordinator. All bring a wealth of experience and expertise that will help us on our way. That brings the IVE team to a staggering twenty strong crew who I enjoy working with enormously. There is never a dull moment!
Looking forward to 2019 and beyond? IVE is well positioned to build on all of the achievements of 2018. There is a growing understanding of just how crucial creativity is to our future; economically and socially and as a result we are reaching increasing numbers of people in every aspect of our work. To ensure our message is clear we are intent on writing about our work and voicing our points of view whenever and wherever we can. Look out for our future blogs and posts which will keep you up to date and informed about all of the exciting things going on in 2019. Happy New Year to all and thank you for your continued support.
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