Craftivist Enterprise

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Craftivists is a partnership between Culture Shift and Hastings Furniture Service (HFS), to support vulnerable adults in the Hastings and Rother area to make and sell craft products through Craftivists, a new craft shop managed by HFS, in Kings Road, St Leonards.

The project brought together three organisations working with people with learning disabilities and three designers/ makers to share skills and entrepreneurial approaches.

The organisations each identified an area of creative enterprise they had skills and capacity to sustain beyond the end of the project. Each selected a designer/maker and worked with them over a 10 week period with a view to developing new products to be sold through the Craftivists shop and through their own networks. The project culminated in an exhibition in December 2015 in the Craftivists shop.

Who was involved?

  • Active Arts/Hastings and Bexhill Mencap and Caroline Fish (graphic designer)
  • Autism Sussex and Judith Rowe (ceramicist)
  • Little Gate Farm and Martin Brockman (artist/woodworker)


  • Creative and practical skills development
  • Staff training and capacity building
  • Development of enterprise skills and understanding
  • To harness skills and expertise of creatives in the area to support community organisations


  • Active Arts and Hastings and Bexhill Mencap designed cards, prints, mugs and tea towels and are now looking to set up an online shop
  • £800 worth of products were sold in the 4 day Christmas exhibition
  • Little Gate Farm, a care farm, made a wide range of wood products from the green wood on their farm, including chairs, stools, buttons, spirtles, spoons, Christmas decorations and are committed to continuing this activity with their own trained woodland Project Leader.
  • Autism Sussex developed a new enterprise – Glazed Over – and produced a new range of table ware and tiles that are selling well.
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There has been significant skills development for participants and staff, with an ongoing commitment to enterprise in all 3 organisations.

There is also commitment to keep working together to sell and promote work made across the three organisations.

I have learnt how to make boxes and packaging and how to make things look good.

Mark, Active Arts

I just wanted to say that we also really valued the opportunity of working in partnership with HFS, Autism Sussex, Active Arts and Culture Shift. The project was really successful, the quality of the work fantastic and I hope we get the opportunity to work in partnership again.

Claire Cordell, Little Gate Farm 

We have so valued the project and working with yourself-it has made a huge difference to the Roebuck Centre, not just the pottery but the overall expectations for the Enterprises. Thank you SO SO much for giving us this opportunity. We would love to work with you again in the future.

Cecile Roberts Autism Sussex

I make things for selling- I am a GO potter!

Mike, Autism Sussex

Love the fact we have a deadline – it is very focusing!

Staff, Little Gate Farm

This project has been supported by East Sussex County Council Adult Social Care.

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