The Sewing for Good Mental Health Team are volunteers running sewing and bag making classes for women with mental health issues. The classes promote social and cultural inclusion for women isolated by their condition and ethnicity. To continue this excellent service, they needed help to buy equipment and materials, such as new sewing machines, and received a BIG grant to enable this to happen. At the time that the Sewing for Good Mental Health Team made their application to BIG their classes already operated one day a week, but they were limited by a lack of equipment such as sewing machines. They wanted to purchase an overlocking machine and perhaps an industrial machine as well as equipment for inserting rivets and sundry other items. Service users often came to them never having made anything before, and they found that creating an item from scratch promotes self esteem. The sessions also allowed those suffering from mental distress to interact with other women in the same situation, reducing their isolation.
The Sewing for Good Mental Health Team have visited the textile departments at Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University to get first hand advice about buying an industrial sewing machine. They were advised that a heavy duty domestic model would suit their service users better in that it would produce the required results but not be too fast or too noisy for the room that they use. The team also held a meeting with their service users which resulted in changes to the room that they use to improve the layout and reduce waiting time for machines. The team had hoped to buy an overlocker but as a direct result of the BIG bid one was donated by a well wisher.
The team have now used their grant for the purchase of a Janome sewing machine, which is perfect for the job. The service users were all very keen to use the new equipment and the accessories which they bought with the remaining money. A hamper basket was filled to the brim with items ranging from scissors and riveters, right down to needles and pins!
For further information, including photos, on the Sewing for Good Mental Health scheme, and to see how things are progressing please visit the BIG website - the link is given below.