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Manchester's Rising Stars Fund supports Emma in animation dreams

Emma is a talented, young, neurodivergent woman who completed a degree in animation & graphic design back in 2019.

Picture of Emma and SENDCODE's logo

She tells us that her future plans include doing workshops for young people in both graphic and fine art, and would really like to work with people with learning difficulties and ASD, as her experience in education with a dyslexia diagnosis helped her understand how hard this can be.

Despite receiving support for her diagnosis during her degree, Emma found it really difficult to get any work experience or career opportunities in her field. As is the case with many students, she feels support from her university was lacking in this field, and she’s been job searching since having left, applying for many jobs but finding it difficult to catch a break.

Added to employment difficulties, the laptop she has been using for years has been malfunctioning for a long time now, which causes further hindrances to projects she works on. Emma finds that many of the savings made go to support her mum who is in ill-health, so for her it isn’t a case of simply buying a new laptop.

We’re glad to be able to step in with a grant from the Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund, completely changing the set-up she will work with, which should bring down the financial barriers stopping her from reaching her potential. The £2,388 grant has bought Emma equipment that will maximise her skills - a laptop tailored to the design industry, a graphics tablet that helps to add detail and is essential for character designs/backgrounds when doing hand drawn animations, and also a second monitor, making her work even more efficient.

Now onto the part of this story that makes it a little different from some previous MRSF grants – Emma was referred to us by one of our brand new Referral Partners, as introduced in the MRSF full launch this January. Emma is a service user at SENDCode, an incredible CIC dedicated to gearing up young autistic people in Manchester for careers in the Digital economy. SENDCode came across Emma on a programme that we funded them to run via a grant from our Covid-19 Community Response Fund! We feel that SENDCode then becoming one of our Referral Partners and referring Emma to the MRSF is an amazing story.

At SENDCode, Emma has really come into her own. She has completed certifications, updated her skills, and even started mentoring another service user, which speaks volumes about her growth. Our grant will further enhance her capabilities in mentoring as she’d be able to teach other young neurodivergent Digital careers enthusiasts about skills on the best tech possible.

In her own words:

“Thank you so much for giving me this grant, it will make a big difference in my future career. I’ll be able to create my characters & animations and work on these at home not just at Federation House on a Friday. I will be able to update my digital profile and create a new website. This means I will be able to look for work from home and look for a job in the digital industry. I can also work on the projects with SENDCode much more easily. Hopefully my future updates will be in a graphic form using my new equipment.”

We believe this grant will support Emma to be the freelancer she wants to be, earning a living for herself in the field she is clearly so talented at, and loves. We’re incredibly proud of her, and will keep you updated on her story as it develops. Emma is definitely a Manchester rising star!


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