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Significant Seams builds community through crafting and supports people in vulnerable life moments. We provide a welcoming community sewing and crafting space called the ‘Community Living Room’ in a high street premises in Walthamstow, East London, which brings people together across various ethnic, faith and social divides to learn new skills and to get involved in community projects.
Significant Seams uses craft to mediate potentially awkward requests for help, giving vulnerable people a means of self-expression and a way to contribute when they otherwise have limited ability to participate in community life – and typically are struggling with isolation and/or low self-esteem. We use community building projects like our annual community quilt project (engaging 250 local people annually) and supportive sewing programmes eg. Sew & Tell ESL, Neighbourly Knit & Stitch, and Supportive Social Stitching (30 local people annually). We also lead activities at community events (engaging approximately 40,000 in 2014/15 and more than 70,000 in 15/16).
Our retail fabric and craft supply business enables us to go farther: engaging local people who are not feeling vulnerable and build organizational financial independence. With this stability, we aim to develop the volunteering programme to support vulnerable people increasingly robustly in developing their employability and confidence and leverage the full range of talents on offer from local residents willing to lend support. This aspect of our organization is premised on characteristics we believe are common amongst crafters nation-wide: introvert tendencies, community-mindedness, and generosity. We aim to build a national offer of craft and fabric supplies for this community – who understand the therapeutic and social benefits and joys of craft, and who will lend loyalty to a brand that uses the profits from this trade to help people using textile craft.
Based in Walthamstow, East London, we run a wide variety of community classes, courses, groups and projects based around textile crafts, skills and traditions. Through our work we foster support, new perspectives and practical skills, all of which nurture self-confidence in individuals and help strengthen community bonds. We also run a stitch and craft library and an affordable shop, to make sure everyone can access the materials they need to pursue textile crafts. The proceeds from all our activities go towards funding our community building and therapeutic programmes.