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Changing lives

Impact Art's Fab Pad project

23-06-2011 | For over 17 years Impact Arts has used the arts as a tool for change - improving the environment, helping someone get back into work or simply improving quality of life. Working in local communities and engaging at-risk individuals and groups with artistic projects, Impact Arts tackles social problems head on.

Making a house a home

From programmes giving direction to young people not in education, employment or training, to community garden makeover projects, Glasgow based Impact Arts has a track record of finding creative solutions to social and environmental problems.

One of the social enterprise's most successful projects is Fab Pad, which works with vulnerable young people at a vital stage in their progression out of a chaotic lifestyle - when they take on a tenancy. Moving home is a stressful time for anyone, but for a young person from a hostel or care background it can be a defining point in their future. Quite apart from the reality that many won't have much in the way of furniture or home comforts to take with them, they often have no idea where to begin.

Fab Pad provides a programme of arts, design and practical skills training designed to help them turn their house into a home. It then supports them to take up other opportunities in education, training and employment, engage in volunteering and develop new social networks. Director Susan Aktemel explains, "making your house your home is the most satisfying thing you can do. It makes you feel happier, healthier and provides a basis for you to  flourish."

Better by design

With the accessible interior design coaching offered by Fab Pad, new tenants have the skills to transform their new homes on a low budget through inspiration, creativity, recycling and hard graft. Being able to decorate a room, sew a pair of curtains, refurbish a piece of furniture or realise what a difference a lamp shade makes, all contribute to a vulnerable person creating a place to be proud of, to be comfortable in and to want to stay in.

Fab Pad is a nationally recognised and proven model for tenancy sustainment. Since 1999 the project has supported over 3,000 vulnerable tenants in transforming their new homes, making them more desirable places to live. The social benefits are measurable - reduced tenancy support costs, improved health and well-being of participants, increased training and employment opportunities and the consequential movement into the local labour market. It goes to show that with a little creativity and commitment, the impact of a home makeover can reach way beyond its four walls.

Project CV

Impact Arts is one of Scotland's leading social enterprises, using visual arts, music, drama, dance and technology as tools for positive and lasting change. Established in 1994 by Susan Aktemel, Impact Arts delivers a range of innovative and creative programmes which empower individuals and communities. Susan's dedication to making a difference and building a highly productive and dynamic business was recognised when she won Scotland's Social Enterprise Leader of the Year 2011 earlier this year. Triodos Bank has supported Impact Arts since 2007, lending money to help the social enterprise buy and renovate properties in Glasgow and Irvine as part of its long term sustainability strategy.


This article was first published in The Colour of Money, a publication from Triodos Bank.

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