A Leicestershire charity has been helping young people get creative with a little help from Overbury. 

Soft Touch Arts, based in Leicester, took advantage of a kind donation from one of Overbury’s major projects in the city to support its Re-Fab project, which uses arts to give disadvantaged young people aged between 14 and 25 opportunities to develop creative, life and employability skills. The Re-Fab project is funded by the RBS Skills & Opportunities Fund.

Overbury is currently carrying out the £4.2m refurbishment of 40,000 sq ft of office space, located at 20-40 New Walk on behalf of Leicester City Council. The site is a stone’s throw from Soft Touch Art’s home at 50 New Walk. 

Christina Wigmore, director of Soft Touch Arts, explained: “When we saw the work going on next door, our arts project leader, Kieran Walsh, asked the Overbury team if they had any materials we might be able to re purpose for the Re-Fab project. They were very obliging and provided us with wood and metal that we were able to put to very good use. 

“It’s great to have a business on board that really wants to put something back into the community. Although charities like ours need cash to keep our projects going, donations of time and materials are just as worthwhile and we’re really pleased that Overbury is helping.”

Chris Mellor, contracts manager at Overbury said: “Soft Touch Arts is a small charity, but one that does great work with young people locally. As a business we know that we don’t work in isolation and that the communities around our projects are just as important as creating the fit-for-purpose spaces that they will occupy. Where we can, we love to support local causes and we’re looking forward to seeing what the talented people working on the Re-Fab project are able to create with the materials.”

A special lunchtime event on May 19th will see the group showcase their work to business representatives who are invited to advise how the items can be marketed and sold.

Arron Jones, a young participant on the project said: “Coming to Re-Fab is good because you get to make anything, with anything! I learnt how to make shelves and work as a team, my highlight was moving into a flat and the people at Re-Fab helping me build stuff that I can use. I am also learning a new set of skills woodworking.”

Overbury’s work on the 20-40 New Walk building is expected to be completed in June 2016, with IBM expected to move in shortly after.