What are significant seams?
Significant Seams….The connections between people that hold despite difficult circumstances, support in challenging times, the paying forward of goodwill to ensure networks and connections for vulnerable life moments…. behind the scenes are the seams.
Since the Board of Directors took the decision to close our retail shop and Community Living Room on Wood Street, the community that the organisation has been supporting and collaborating with for five years, the community itself has at times felt vulnerable – but also shown remarkable resilience, connectedness, and mutual support: the very things it has been our intention to foster.
At the end of March an inspirational army of volunteers rolled up their sleeves and tackled the hard and emotional work of packing up our materials, soft sculptures, community makes and office supplies from 131 Wood Street in an orderly and accessible way. Our ‘stuff,’ sorted and weeded down, moved into storage, ready for action, as and when contracts and grants enable it (and bits of forward work are confirmed). The contributions of this remarkable community, eclectic and mostly previously unknown to one another, have enabled our ongoing ability to work with other organisations to support vulnerable people using textile and crafts, to accept commissions, and deliver programmes. The gratitude of the Board can not be expressed emphatically enough. While we did set out to build community and support people in vulnerable life moments, we are nonetheless humbled and emotionally grateful to, in effect, become beneficiaries of this.
A wide variety of conversations have been had…. And will continue to be – to ensure support for the most vulnerable, to help our volunteers continue engagements with ours and partner projects, and to share what assets we can.
The organisation has been very happy to be able to re-distribute a wide variety of ‘stuff’ to other groups and organisations in Waltham Forest to support their work. For example, we have donated:
- ESOL course books to ELATT and Waltham Forest Migrant Action Group
- Special Editions of Children’s books to Carefree Kids
- Kitchen supplies to Forest Peace Farm
- A printer and easel to Plates for You (a multi-faith free shared meals programme: they just won third place in an international award, bestowed on them by the King of Jordan!)
- Craft materials to Evolve (arts for mental health support) and
- Lots of miscellany to Crest WF (for their community support work and shop activities)
We have also been heartened and newly empowered by the confidences shared by other organisations, the insights sought by other charities, and constructive conversations emerging about the context in which frontline organisations find themselves.
And we are looking forward to a full-on celebration of the creations of this community, with an exhibition and reception on Thursday 15 June, during the Art Trail, at St Gabriel’s Church Hall in Havant Road, just off Wood Street. Mark your calendars and plan to join us!
With love and gratitude,
Catherine and the rest of the Board