Arts Factory History

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Some snap-shots:

1990 – “Vales Community Business” is established as a Company Limited by Guarantee and sets up a community enterprise providing a garden clearance service to create opportunities for people labelled as learning disabled.

1991 – Vales Community Business takes a cheap lease on some greenhouses and starts growing produce for sale in local markets. More and more volunteers get involved.

1992 – Vales Community Business creates Viva!, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of disabled young people. Today Viva! Is a thriving organisation working with young people across Rhondda Cynon Taff.

1994 – After a strategic review Vales Community Business adopts the Arts Factory name and we agree to continue to involve people with learning disabilities but also to seek to work with anyone who feels marginalised or excluded in the community.

1994 – Arts Factory takes up a lease on some Factory units on Highfield Industrial Estate, Ferndale, where we are still based today. We employ more people and involve more volunteers.

1995 – Arts Factory opens a retail garden centre and plant nursery on Highfield Industrial Estate.

1996 – Arts Factory opens a semi-industrial pottery at Highfield. More volunteers get involved.

1996 – After a vigorous campaign and a Public Enquiry Arts Factory purchase Trerhondda, a listed building in the heart of Ferndale. The building is derelict and Arts Factory commits to redevelop it as a multi-use facility. Today the building is a thriving community hub which is used by hundreds of local people every week.

1997 – Arts Factory wins the prestigious BURA award for community-based regeneration.

1997 – Arts Factory is awarded the Investors in People quality standard. Prince Charles visits us to present the award in Trerhondda.

1998 – Arts Factory launches a Graphic Design Service. This social enterprise is one of our main sources of income today.

2000 – Arts Factory launches a proposal to develop a community wind farm to generate income to fund community-based regeneration initiatives across the Rhondda.

2005 – After a long campaign and a Public Enquiry Arts Factory wins planning consent for a wind farm in the Rhondda. Unfortunately we are “rucked off the ball” by a commercial developer and the wind farm is built without any community benefit. Lessons are learned.

2006 – Arts Factory is awarded the Green Dragon Standard for managing our environmental impacts.

2009 – A community garden group is established at Arts Factory’s Highfield site.

2009 – Arts Factory’s Chief Executive is included in the inaugural Wales Green List, a Welsh Government backed initiative to recognise “green heroes” across Wales.

2009 – Arts Factory launched Factory Books, a social enterprise re-selling collectable books through an on-line portal. We have over 20,000 books in our stock today and are exporting books to readers all over the world.

2010 – Arts Factory signs up to the 10:10 campaign and we cut our carbon emissions by over 30% in the year.

2010 – Arts Factory signs-up to the Welsh Sustainable Development Charter.

2010 –Arts Factory is awarded the Investing in Volunteering quality standard.

2011 – Arts Factory undertakes a strategic review supported by the charity Pilotlight. The result is a sharper, more focussed development plan.

2012 – Arts Factory’s Chief Executive is recognised as a “10:10 Pioneer”. 10:10 say “each of the 12 hand-picked Pioneers has led an exceptional 10:10 effort within a business or an organisation.”

For More Information: about Art Factory history please e-mail