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‘Connecting Threads’ in Coleraine

Published: Mon, 23 Apr 2018
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One of the Crafts With Love participants sews cushion covers
To bring local crafters together.
A group of women in Coleraine’s Churchlands who have been drawn together through their love of crafts are looking forward to a busy year ahead thanks to funding from us.
Crafts With Love is a voluntary community organisation which has been based in the Coleraine West Community Centre in Churchlands since 2011. It was set up 15 years ago, with the aim of encouraging women of all backgrounds to meet up and share their love of knitting, crochet, sewing and other crafts.
The group was recently awarded £4,200 from our Community Grants scheme and will use the funding to develop a project called ‘Connecting Threads’, a series of craft classes that will take place over 10 months, where a tutor will teach techniques in knitting, crochet, quilting and papercrafts.
The funding will pay for transport to and from the weekly craft classes, which is essential for those women who are disabled or have no access to transport on their own.
The cost of a day trip to a major crafts fair taking place in Belfast at the end of April will also be covered.
While creating crafts and sharing techniques are the main aims of the group, there’s another important benefit, as Roberta Campbell of Crafts With Love explained:
“Crafting is more than just a hobby, and it has been proven to be beneficial in helping improve wellbeing.
"The social aspect of being in a group is also very uplifting. For those who are bereaved, suffering from loneliness, depression or an age-related illness such as dementia, or are caring for a family member, the weekly class has been a lifeline and we’re very grateful to the Housing Executive for supporting us.”
The group brings together women of all ages from the nearby community as well as the towns of Castlerock, Ballymoney and Portrush. The women hold regular craft events where they sell their home-made items and donate the proceeds to a different children’s charity each year.
Participants learn decoupage techniques watched by our own Mark Alexander and tutor Mary McNicholl
Roberta added:
“The fact that we can provide transport for those participants who through disability, don’t have access to transport, makes a huge difference, because otherwise those people would be stuck at home feeling isolated and lonely.
"In a recent survey of residents of this area, 75% said they wanted to bring back a sense of ‘neighbourliness”. We feel that we are encouraging that through our group.”
Mark Alexander, Area Manager for Causeway, said:
“We are delighted to have supported this project which plays such an important part in combatting isolation and loneliness, particularly among older people.
"Our community grants are designed to support projects which encourage health and wellbeing, environmental improvement, intergenerational or community safety initiatives at a local level, and we aim to encourage residents to actively participate in activities in their estates and communities, while developing their skills and learning something new.”