Our women’s group meets every week and provides our guests the opportunity to meet, share their daily life experiences, learn new skills and empower each other.
The group have taken part in a wide range of activities and made lots of beautiful items, including:
- knitting, French knitting and crochet
- jewellery making
- creating mood boards
- making presentation boxes
- Christmas decorations
We are incredibly proud that our hand-knitted mug hugs are now being sold in Pop Shop Wiltshire!
In the beginning…
The Women’s Group is a good example of how something extraordinary can develop from a very simple idea.
The first hurdle was to obtain funding so that we could employ a local artist to facilitate monthly sessions as a way of leading the women on a journey of learning new craft skills. The extra bonus, at the end of the year, would be the production of a tangible object as a permanent record of the project for future display purposes.
Unbelievably, and very unexpectedly, we were delighted to be granted a significant amount of money by the South West Foundation towards running the project for a year and so the group was launched in June 2012.
Benefits of the group
The project is a great success and there have been many positive benefits for the women involved. Since we started:
- one guest has been awarded a supported housing placement and is now studying art at college
- two guests have started work
- several guests have learned to knit and crochet
- all the guests have grown in confidence and have become more assertive
- the group has produced a 6ft knitted tree called “The Tree of Many Things”. Designed by Julia Warin of Artspark and using recycled materials from the local scrap store, this has been a huge source of creativity and amusement
The group also allows our guests to provide each other with emotional support – from helping each other through bereavement, to just having some tea and cake and having a chat in a safe environment. The women have learnt to trust both staff and volunteers but most importantly each other and a sense of camaraderie has developed from an initial atmosphere of defensiveness and wariness.