Crafting Together for inclusive learning

Posted: 11 April 2022, in News

Crafting Together CIC is a small but rapidly growing Community Interest Company and crafting community based in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire. We support a group of 12 young adults with additional support for learning needs to take part in a programme of high quality, engaging and inclusive craft workshops. 

These have recently involved jewellery making, weaving, printing, sewing and drawing and are constantly evolving to suit each maker’s interests, needs and skills. We then sell the handcrafted objects we make online and via various other retailers – and all profits go back into the organisation to help us fund future workshops.

Crafting Together CIC was set up by a group of teachers from Kilpatrick school who recognised the pressing need for opportunities for school and college leavers with additional support needs to learn skills and gain work experience. Crucial to that, is that these opportunities take place within supportive environments where everyone’s needs are recognised and adapted to in a positive way.

We registered as a social enterprise back in 2018 and since then have grown into a solid community, a place for people to meet and socialise, a place for people to develop and express their creative ideas and a place for people to build confidence: something we strongly believe everyone is entitled to.

At Crafting Together we strongly believe in the power of making. We can see first hand the active benefits of engaging in craft based activities. The act of moving our hands to create something physical definitely has a positive effect on the brain. Peeling back the lino-cut from a fresh print, attaching the last bead to a necklace, adding a new coloured thread to a tapestry, ironing out a seam on a freshly sewn purse are all small victories that help bring joy to our day-to-day lives. 

What a lot of our Makers find even more fulfilling is seeing these handcrafted objects being used/worn/enjoyed by others. According to research by the BBC and University College London, engaging in crafts activities can genuinely alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, loneliness and even dementia. This is something we are wholeheartedly embracing and promoting at Crafting Together. Also, even better than crafting alone is crafting within a community!

We’ve got lots of exciting plans on the horizon – we’re soon to be collaborating with the Clydesider Magazine, another social enterprise and publishers of a free quarterly community magazine. With them we’re running a dedicated photography project for our Makers – giving them the opportunity to learn and develop a whole other craft skill set which will no doubt be beneficial for lots of things in life. We’re extremely grateful for the Clydesider in supporting this and are excited to see where it takes us.

We’re also just about to embark on another project exploring the dense and complex history of Turkey Red Textiles. ‘Turkey Red’ was a method of dyeing adopted by textile manufacturers in the Vale of Leven, Dunbartonshire, not too far from our studio in Clydebank. We’re going to be working with the Turkey Red Collection, consisting of pattern books, fabric samples and objects held at Alexandria Library and National Museums Scotland to inspire a new series of textile and art workshops.

Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more about us – we’re always open to new collaborations and opportunities too!

Flo Dwyer, Crafting Together CIC