Stitching a way to big social impacts
Posted: 06 April 2021, in News
Stitch The Gap CIC has a clear vision to have a direct impact on climate change, by equipping individuals with the sewing machine skills to reduce, recycle and repurpose fabric.
We want to create a legacy of transformation and remove barriers (social, educational and financial) to ensure this life-long skill is passed down through the generations.
We’ve come such a long way since our first tentative steps in 2019 when we delivered classes to local children within Twechar community centre in East Dunbartonshire. We realised that we were onto something when we put on extra classes and still had a waiting list across each session.
We now run classes within Kirkintilloch and Milngavie and have just been successful for an East Dunbartonshire community grant to deliver free sessions within Twechar, Auchinairn, Lennoxtown, Hillhead and Harestanes.
The pandemic changed how we do everything and in March 2020 we were not prepared for it at all and naively thought that we would see our classes open in a few weeks. I’m actually really proud of our resilience during this time as we decided to use the donated fabric (that we had intended to use for our Easter classes) to make sewing kits for local children and families to make at home.
When the reality set in that this new normal was here to stay we furthered our connections with local community groups and delivered face mask making kits to groups in new areas. We used the time to look at what being a social enterprise meant to us and we wanted to emerge stronger and more resourceful to meet new challenges.
I actually lost count of the amount of webinars and online training events that we signed up for but the learning opportunity for us as a start up was massive and we completely embraced it. We moved our services online and we have also started to develop our Lending Library of sewing machines with Zero Waste Scotland with the hope that we move into premises this year.
I think we’re emerging from this pandemic with a heightened sense of what is important to us. For me personally I have become a more environmentally conscious consumer and have particularly missed that connection with other people. We have ensured that this ethos makes up the very fabric of Stitch the Gap.
We use donated and recycled fabric in our classes and have started to produce repurposed products that we sell on our website shop so that profits from our sustainable products go back into delivering skills based sewing machine classes.
One of our online participants, who had never used a sewing machine before, has kept every single thing that she’s made at every class (and even had a sewing machine from Santa to keep her going on her sewing journey).
This shared experience is important to us and we’ll be delivering our popular parent and child classes at the end of May. In the meantime we’ll continue our online sessions and get to reach folk through a screen until we meet up again.
Trish Papworth, Stitch the Gap CIC