National recognition for Red Dreams charity

Dawn and Ian Mc Manus pictured outside the new Red Dreams premises.
Dawn and Ian Mc Manus pictured outside the new Red Dreams premises.

A CREATIVE charity has been hailed for its willingness to take on apprentices as it just missed out on winning a national award.

Although Dawn and Ian McManus, the founders of Red Dreams, have the pressures of raising enough cash to keep the charity going each year, they have taken on 19 interns and apprentices over the last year.

And the charity was praised as it was named runner-up in the Employer of the Year category at the Creative & Cultural Skills awards, held in London earlier this week.

The licensed sector skills council for the UK’s creative and cultural industries provided 50 per cent of the funding which allowed Red Dreams to take on the paid members of staff.

And although Dawn admitted recruiting the interns and apprentices was “a risk” in what are difficult times for all charities needing to make ends meet, she said Red Dreams are now beginning to reap the rewards.

Dawn, who set up the charity with her husband Ian, 43, after the tragic death of their son, Kyle, who suffered a brain haemorrhage and died aged just 16 in 2007, said: “To finish runner-up in such a major national awards ceremony is absolutely fantastic, we’re delighted.

“We lost only to Trent County Council which shows the size of some of the organisations we were up against, we are just a small charity in comparison.”

Dawn was also highly commended in the awards but she was quick to divert the praise away from herself and Ian and heap it on the young interns and apprentices, aged between 16 and 22, who have done “amazing work” for the charity.

“We are working on so many different activities and projects now that in the past we just wouldn’t have been able to get round to doing,” explained Dawn.

“That is thanks to the brilliant work of our interns and apprentices.”

To celebrate finishing runner-up and to mark National Apprenticeship Week - running throughout this week - Dawn and Ian organised a small gathering for the young workers at the charity.

Work is currently ongoing on a new state-of-the art facility attached to the charity’s base in Whitby Street South, in the town. When complete, the unit will operate as a performance and community venue capable of holding more than 100 people.