Stitches Craft Group

Beighton, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Your story

Arts and Crafts that have you in Stitches.

Group introduction

I joined the Stitches Craft Group relatively recently, when I retired from full-time employment. The group meets weekly on a Thursday afternoon, at the Artspace in Crystal Peaks Library in the Beighton area of Sheffield. The members who attend the Stitches Craft Group are mainly local people, and the group was started to provide a meeting place for people to increase their circle of friends, whilst learning new skills and passing on their art and crafts knowledge to each other, encouraging them to try new things and develop other interests.

There is quite a mix of ages, but some members are quite elderly and lonely to some extent, and this is a safe space that they can come to in an afternoon to have a chat over a cup of tea, whilst making something useful. It really makes a difference to their social wellbeing and it provides a sense of community and belonging. When it is someone’s birthday, we have home-made cake as a special treat and make birthday cards for each other, it is so nice to know that someone cares enough to do that. Stitches is a voluntary group mainly run by Doris Ansell, who acts as Secretary, and Eileen Hills who acts as Treasurer, but all of the members willingly help out when needed.

The group first started about 25 years ago and although members have left and others joined over the years, there are one or two original members still attending. The group helps people from the local area and they in turn help local charities. We have to pay for the hire of the room, the cost of refreshments, and all our own materials. We pay a little extra each week for the tea and coffee supplies, in order to raise some money for the local children’s hospice, Bluebell Wood, and we have also hired a table at local fetes to sell some of our crafts in aid of other charities. The members also knit baby clothes and cot blankets for the premature babies at Sheffield Children’s Hospital or for the League of Friends to sell in their shop.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

If we are successful, this donation will give us the opportunity to organise some special events for our members free of charge. The group is totally self-funding and we pay a weekly subscription to cover the cost of hiring the room. We also pay for tea and coffee to be provided, which the members make themselves using the kitchen facility on site. Each member pays for their own craft supplies, such as knitting wool, needles, fabric, patterns, cottons, card stock, glue, embellishments etc.

Crafting is an amazing distraction from everyday worries and it is de-stressing to meet up with friendly people and to make something with your own hands and the members benefit greatly from this. It gives a sense of satisfaction and achievement to see the finished article and to know that you had fun creating it yourself. It also helps with hand-eye co-ordination and keeps the brain active whilst still being a relaxing hobby.

It would be really enjoyable to be able to arrange for the members to have an outing that they didn’t have to pay for, perhaps to a visit a craft workshop with afternoon tea included. Alternatively we could pay to have an instructor to come to visit our club and give tuition on something new. We could also use some of the money to cover the cost of supplying some materials which can be quite expensive for some with limited finances.

"Thelma Elliott, Volunteer Organiser, said:

“It is a very social and friendly group and we look forward to meeting up every week. It gives a focal point to bring members of the local community together and it creates is a positive community spirit, which is really important as many of our members live alone. We have some very talented members who are always willing to share their knowledge and be supportive of one another, passing on tips as to how to achieve the best results and between us we make some amazing items.”"