Paper Arts Development CIC

Amount Given:

£120,000 over six years (made in 2016)


Children and Young People





Paper Arts

Christine Chang,

Social Investment Fund Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

We made this social investment in Paper Arts because the organisation is providing a route for unemployed young people in deprived wards in Bristol, including vulnerable young people, e.g. people with learning disabilities or mental health conditions, to jobs in the creative industries.  It’s an investment we made alongside Resonance, an intermediary that Esmee has supported in the past and continues to support. 

Although they’ve only been running for two years, the founders have achieved impressive results in a short time by working with young people and providing them with paths to job opportunities.

Paper Arts is a social enterprise that supports unemployed young people to realise their potential.

Our mission is to empower young people (18-24 years) to find employment and achieve self-employment in the creative sector. We do this by providing creative enterprise training, industry knowledge and mentoring.

We are all born creative and with the right exposure and opportunities, we all have the potential to harness our creativity, follow our passions and lead meaningful lives. Yet far too much of this potential is lost, too much talent is wasted. 

Our work demonstrates how a strategic and consistent commitment to young people's entrepreneurial spirit can reverse this trend and instead, create a positive cycle of increasing possibility and opportunity that enables them to channel their creative talents into successful careers and creative enterprises.

In 2016, PAPER Arts gained £350,000 in social investment through joint investment from Esmée Fairbairn and Resonance for the establishment of a sustainable business model for our social enterprise.

Through theinvestment we purchased and refurbished our first community asset, a workspace for creative professionals called Redbrick House. The investment has allowed us to create a permanent location for our training facility within an inner-city ethnically diverse community, creating a hub for young people to explore and gain work in the creative industries.

Through the social investment we will be able to support over 100 unemployed young people each year to find employment or self-employment within the creative sector.

We sell workspace to creative professionals to raise funds to deliver training and mentoring to young people who are not currently in training, education or employment.

A further £10,000 grant from Esmée Fairbairn has allowed us to develop our Social Impact Framework and develop our accounting systems to ensure that we are equipped to manage the large amount of investment and successfully monitor the impact we are making.

Simone Kidner,




I started PAPER Arts as a platform to support young creatives, I now know that this platform has longevity and all of the hard work that I have put in has been secured for young people’s futures. Although there is still much more to do, I am no longer worried that a landlord will move us on or that we will be reliant of raising grant funding. We have security and can focus now on increasing our impact for our young audience.

Redbrick House has become a community hub that is used by many other youth organisations, social enterprises and community groups. Our training space, meeting rooms and event space has supported many more people than our own target audience, bringing a variety of people together and becoming a focal point for networking within the community.