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The Amber Factory is a constituted group, working in partnership with Derbyshire County Council’s Virtual School and cultural venues across Derbyshire. Creative Mentors work alongside children, young people in care, and care leavers to nurture creativity and support positive engagement through the arts. Creative Mentors from a variety of creative backgrounds work in collaboration with education providers, carers and teams around the child. The Amber Factory supports personalised access for young people to high quality arts facilities with a growing number of young people attending on a weekly basis; visiting galleries, museums and theatres, creating work and engaging with venue programmes. See our ‘Projects’ page for what’s going on with The Amber Factory.

The Amber Factory supports young people in Derbyshire through projects finding new and exciting roles and learning opportunities. A team of 6 Creative Mentors (roles established through DCC virtual School) have supported various work experience programmes and are in the process of negotiating apprenticeships within and associated with these venues. Other projects such as ‘Make it’ builds on the creative mentor- young person relationships delivering further skill orientated- work based experiences as well as personalised projects that attend to the needs or ambitions of the individual.

The Creative Mentor role is a unique and innovative practice through Derbyshire County Council’s Virtual School for young people in care.

Founding members of the Amber Factory

Jay Pollitt: Dance Artist, Choreographer, Visual Arts Practitioner, Producer and Creative Mentor


Jay has worked as an actor and performer with Theatre and Musical companies performing across Europe and on settling in Nottingham has developed his work with communities and young people by creating and delivering creative projects with schools and groups; always aiming to make a difference through the arts. As a Creative Mentor Jay brings all these experiences and skills together to create opportunities for young people in care so they can realise their passions and work towards them.

Christine Hayward: Maker, Designer, Theatre Practitioner, Producer and Creative Mentor


Christine has worked in producing theatre for over 20 years, devising and developing programs, producing shows and staging national festivals. She has a love of working with people and brought her expertise together by developing innovative and dynamic creative educational work for Creative Partnerships and at the same time developed her first project with children and young people in care. Christine feels passionate that everyone has creativity within them and this can often be the road to self-discovery, well-being and even a future career.

Wendy Johnson: Ceramic Artist, Creative Educationalist and Creative Mentor

Wendy has over 25 years of experience in Arts education, having her own ceramics practice and experience of working across a wide range of sectors in Arts education and Creative Industries. Wendy has worked for many years for Creative Partnerships, both as a delivering practitioner and as a Creative Agent in schools, including a school for young people with Autism. Wendy has taken a leading role in participation and engagement within Arts Organisations and has also managed Wirksworth Arts Festival.
For the last 5 years Wendy has enjoyed her developing role as a Creative Mentor working with Children In Care for DCC Virtual School.

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