Client Story


  • Location: Sheffield
  • Sector: Arts, Creative and Digital Services
  • Amount: £21k
  • Purpose: Renovation Costs
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In their second year of business, they were asked by the council to expand to Rotherham and acquired a community centre in Thorpe Hesley with a 25-year lease.

Key Fund gave ArtWorks Sheffield a £21k grant and loan mix for renovation costs.


ArtWorks was established in 2015, offering workshops in art, dance and drama as well as community activities run by professional artists. They also facilitate placements in projects such as the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival and the Wildlife Trust and work with galleries to help renovate the cultural quarter in Sheffield to make it more disabled friendly and accessible.

The Challenge

The aim was to see a shift from the usual factory-based jobs to empower disabled people with learning disabilities, to work in the creative industries.

“I went through all the government statistics; adults and young people with learning difficulties are least likely to access art.” – Kayleigh, Director

Its vulnerable groups we hope to access – people who need a bit of support, that’s what we’re here for.

Kayleigh – ArtWorks

Alistair, Diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum aged 15
“I was really struggling at college, I was doing an art course and really loved my drawing and painting, but I was feeling really low and couldn’t feel I could express myself. I was referred to ArtWorks. The dream is financially to support myself through my art, that’s the big dream, and ArtWorks are getting me towards that point.”

The Solution

Key Fund gave a £21k grant and loan mix for renovation costs, enabling ArtWorks to service 35 volunteers, 30 disabled adults and up to 10 children with learning disabilities.

Social services refer two or three young adults a month. Art supplies are funded by auctioning service-user’s artwork and run programmes on everything from computer skills, supported by Sheffield University, to home safety and healthy living, with gym memberships and swimming lessons.

“It’s all holistically wrapped up with community living and life skills. We have a service user who recently learnt to swim!” – Kayleigh, Director

The new centre will service the whole community, such as working with the elderly and offering volunteering. Following success with expansion to Rotherham, the plan is to grow in Doncaster, Barnsley and Huddersfield.

The Feedback

“We spoke to the bank; they weren’t able to help us. Without the support of Key Fund we wouldn’t have been in this position to get this amazing community building which service users, the community and volunteers can access. Everyone wants it to be a success.” – Kayleigh, Director

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