Arts Charity Exhibits Entrepreneurial Flair


Central Scotland's leading community arts charity is to venture into product development for the first time in its 27 year history. 

Artlink Central is set to capitalise on its unique insight and expertise in delivering participatory arts programmes by developing commercial art products specifically for people with dementia.

As part of its bid to become more entrepreneurial in the way it operates, the charity has recently moved its base to Stirling University Innovation Park.

Director of Artlink Central, Kevin Harrison said: "The funding landscape is changing and third sector organisations need to diversify and become more business like if they want to succeed. There is a real push for charities to set up social enterprise trading arms to make their own money and become more sustainable. We decided to draw on our existing skills and expertise in creating art experiences for people with dementia to design our first commercial product, a creativity kit that can be delivered in-house by care home and hospital staff."

Artlink Central has a strong history of innovation in the fields of health and social care and was looking for a business community with a complimentary set of skills.

Kevin Harrison explained: "The real appeal of the Innovation Park is the huge scope for commercial and academic collaborations. The idea for the creativity kit actually came out of a discussion we had at one of the Park's networking events. We are now designing the product in conjunction with the University's Department of Gerontology and are working with another tenant, Alzheimer's Scotland, on testing the kits."

The charities shift in focus towards commercialisation is a transition the Innovation Park is well placed to support.

Lynn Blaikie, Head of the Innovation Park, said: “Social enterprise is a fast growing and exciting sector, as organisations seek to do good and make a profit at the same time. Our team has direct experience in supporting charities in this way and in guiding companies through the product development process. Artlink Central are now part of an innovative and collaborative enterprise community with a strong focus on health innovation and will also benefit from the University research community's extensive expertise in dementia and social care.”

The creativity kit is currently being tested in 20 care homes and will be launched in summer 2016.

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