Talented artists searching for a route into the creative industries were given a design for life by Conwy Employment Hub.
With the support of a dedicated mentor, Jamie Griffiths and Emily Gibbs were inspired to produce stunning artwork for the best-selling Secret Dishes from Around the World 2.
Published by Bounceback Food – a community interest company (CIC) serving people in food poverty across North Wales, Cheshire, and Greater Manchester – the book featured low cost, healthy recipes from all over the globe.
Having signed up for the Hub’s Communities for Work programme, Emily’s creativity came to the fore and she was invited to submit a painting for the publication.
Jamie, from Colwyn Bay, had been involved as a volunteer cook with their Sit and Stew project, a cafe offering a hot meal and a space for people to come together, but it was his artistic flare that most impressed the judges, who were searching for 20 pictures to complement their recipe ideas.
Despite many talented entrants, both Jamie and Emily, from Conwy, were successful, designing incredible images to showcase the cuisine of their allocated countries, Turkey and New Zealand.
The pair were also invited to the launch event in Manchester, with travel and even new outfits funded by the Hub.
Jamie said: “I was flattered and a bit humbled when asked to present some of my images for consideration to the Bounceback team.
“It’s been really gratifying to know that my illusions can go some way in alleviating societies burgeoning spectre of food poverty.”
Emily added: “This is quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever done, and I’m proud of the piece I made.
“I hope the book does well and feel like doing this project has shown me what I’m capable of; it’s definitely helped my self-belief.”
The new-look Conwy Employment Hub incorporates the successful Communities for Work, Communities for Work Plus, ADTRAC and PaCE programmes, providing anyone aged 16 and above who is not in employment, school, or college with access to mentors and advisors who can help “remove barriers” and enhance their future career prospects.
The everyday pressures of life are often major obstacles, which is where they step in, helping with things such as transport costs, childcare support, tenancy and housing issues as well as arranging food parcels and supporting people with their mental health.
Libby Duo, Conwy’s Principal Officer for Skills and Employability, congratulated Emily and Jamie for their successful contributions to the project.
“We have worked closely with Bounceback for many years and are so proud of both of them for producing such brilliant artwork, both pieces are fantastic,” she said.
“Most importantly, it gave them vital experience in the creative sector, which is where they both see their futures, and helped build their confidence – congratulations Emily and Jamie, what an amazing achievement.”
Duncan Swainsbury, Director of Bounceback, added: “Secret Dishes has been a wonderful project to work on and will raise vital funds for our organisation.
“It’s a unique cookbook that shows how, despite the many restrictions of 2020, creativity and community spirit can still flourish.
“We’re thrilled with the artwork that Emily and Jamie have produced for the book in their respective sections, it looks magnificent! They’ve both gained an enormous amount of confidence and self-belief by being involved in its production.”