1. Tell us what you do.
Cradley Heath Creative highlights the arts and artists in the Cradley Heath area – artists means anyone who creative activity, whether it’s visual, performance, film, crafts. Most of our members are people who have trained in the arts to some level or who are a bit fanatical about what they do as amateur artists. We join in on local festivals and events where possible and we run a free annual arts festival in April/May. This year it expanded to three venues.
2.What is your proudest achievement?
We are gradually converting a horse trailer into a mobile community venue, called Oss Box. So far we have had grants from Sandwell, the Arts Council, ASDA and Creative Black Country. We’ve used it for shadow puppetry; it’s been a pinhole camera – the images are part of Reclaimed Photography Festival at the Black Country Museum; it makes an unusual arts workshop and a stage for small plays.
Oss Box is available for use by other community organisations – we ask for expenses to cover transport and wear and tear.
3.What is your experience of support received from SCVO
SCVO membership gives us a good deal for our group public liability insurance and we look at updates for funding streams. We are really aware of the support available from SCVO staff for small groups, but we are not able to take part in the networking breakfasts at the moment.
4.What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
People have a strong affinity with the area they live in. This makes Sandwell a patchwork of communities that look to their own identity and many perceive a West Bromwich bias in Sandwell. We have found, however, a willingness, despite cutbacks, by Sandwell Council staff to work with people who want things to happen in the community – support for getting events promoted from the Communications Team, facilitating public events in parks, guidance on Sandwell funding applications etc.
5.What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
We want to continue to highlight the arts skills of members of Cradley Heath Creative to people who live locally. There is a lot of imagination within the group for community activity. We’d love to see the stable block at Haden Hill House converted to a community and arts resource, which would mean getting together with a lot of other local organisations who could benefit.
6.How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Keep prompting us! It’s good to have the kind of professional advice you can offer at the points when we need it.
For more information on Creadley Heath Creative please email Fran Wilde at email@example.com