A musician who found it difficult to get a job as a tutor has been crowned Social Entrepreneur of the Year.
Daniel Fitzgerald co-founded RecRock after a number of support agencies failed to help him find employment.
The not-for-profit company teaches music to individuals, schoolchildren and community groups through bespoke workshops.
Mr Fitzgerald was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the Enterprising People in Communities Awards, held recently in the Vale of Glamorgan.
RecRock were one of five trophy-winning projects that had been helped by the EU-funded South East Wales Community Economic Development programme – run by the local authorities of Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Torfaen.
As well as supporting two jobs, RecRock has provided volunteering opportunities for 30 people and engaged with more than 1,000 people in schools, mental health projects and community engagement projects. The company, based at the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise in Caerphilly town, has worked with some of the hardest to reach in the community.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “When I left university I wanted to follow the path of being a musician or music teacher, but the support simply wasn’t there.
“I want to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for doing what I love – what makes me happy – with others; and there’s a gap there for people to help you do what you want to.
“I’m not in this to make millions – I’m in it to make sure I can pay the bills, help others, but ultimately to do something I love doing. I would take minimum wage doing this over £30k working in a bank any day of the week.”