Prince’s Trust & RBS A-Z of Young Businesses: ‘R’ – Rich Simmons: Art is the Cure

After leaving school, Rich, 26, from Peterborough, drifted from one job to another, but had difficulty finding permanent work. By the age of 19 he was struggling with depression, but knew that he wanted to channel his creativity into something positive.

Rich enjoyed designing t-shirts, so decided to turn to art to escape his problems. He prepared a batch of t-shirts to sell, and was surprised at how popular they were. It was around this time that he started to think that he could potentially create his own job to escape unemployment.

After hearing about The Prince’s Trust, Rich drew up a comprehensive business plan. He took this to The Trust’s Enterprise programme, and was thrilled when he was awarded a £2,000 loan to set up his art therapy business.

Art is the Cure is a project which aims to promote art therapy in a unique way through creative workshops and giving talks at events and in schools. It’s now thriving, and is partnered with other youth charities, local councils and schools across the country.

Rich’s story and passion have turned Art Is The Cure into a globally renowned movement that inspires people all over the world to find a cure through creative therapy. Rich’s artwork is now selling in top London galleries to the rich and famous and he has been described in the media as ‘the new Banksy’.

Rich said: “The Princes Trust were hugely instrumental in helping me get to where I am today. The support and help they gave me to learn business in my own time and own way allowed me to think outside the box and get to a position where I could create something unique.

He continued, “People all over the world have been inspired to find a cure to problems through art and it’s because of The Trust that I’ve been able to find the confidence to create this journey that I’m on now.”

It’s not long until the fifth birthday of Art Is The Cure, and Rich has several solo gallery shows lined up. He’s is also looking to break new ground with AITC by developing a brand new social network, designed for artists to use as both a platform for their own art as well as inspiring people to find the support they need to find their own cure through art. Rich has new people joining the team and as the business continues to grow.

In addition to his other activities, Rich works with schools and charities running art workshops for disadvantaged teens. He says: “I know how lucky I am to be in a position where I am financially and emotionally secure and I really want to use my position in making sure I can help others who aren’t quite so lucky.”

Rich finished by telling us: “The Prince’s Trust quite simply saved my life. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without their help, support and guidance.”

Paul Jones

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine