Opinions

Using the Wellbeing Fund to increase community spirit during a crisis

Written by: Linda Singer, Development Worker, Grampian Opportunities

Published: 07/10/2020

Read more about how Grampian Opportunities used the Wellbeing fund grant to propel creativity in the age of COVID-19.

Phyllis Gordon is employed only 2 hours per week with Grampian Opportunities (GO) (this link will take you away from our website) and was going to use this time to prepare for future craft classes she delivers through the Crafty Crafters Group who meet at GO. In her own time, this led her to start making craft kits for others, to provide wellbeing activities to support people at home. Requests for kits grew very quickly with packs for adults and children being made available free of charge to anyone who  asked.

Phyllis with help from her family then set up a new FaceBook page called Inverurie Community Craft Project (this link will take you away from our website).  Her hope was that this would encourage people to feel less isolated as they could share their interest in crafts, connect to others and share examples of their work.  The project also gave people materials they needed to try something different.

Inverurie Community Council learnt of her work and asked for kits for schools – they provided some materials towards this and numbers of activity packs grew into their hundreds with over 400 kits having been made up and distributed.

At this point Phyllis pulled together a small band of volunteer helpers (Angela, Elaine, Gillian, Patricia, Kimberley and Katrina) working from home and later using the space at GO to work safely together. This allowed them to talk about teamwork, raising GO’s profile, community engagement, helping others, “saving my sanity”, fun and fellowship.

Craft kits have mainly been shared to individuals, a sheltered housing complex, a supported housing service and a nursing home. Inverurie but have gone out to people across Grampian. Crafters connected to GO, while at home, have sewn scrubs, scrub bags and facemasks. The GO group also loaned one of their sewing machines to a New Scots group who used this as part of their incredible project to make scrub bags.

By securing funding from the Wellbeing Fund, we were able to further support craft activities. A donation has also helped Phyllis prepare for a safe return to craft classes with individual toolkits being prepared.

During this time Phyllis has remembered her crafting friend Lynn and has been able to make a good use of materials that Lynn’s family gifted. Having seen the pleasure Lynn got from receiving a quilt when she was in hospital gave Phyllis the idea of and asking crafters to make similar loss quilts as an act of kindness and already four have been made to be passed on through CLAN to people who would value this. Through the Inverurie Community Craft project members have donated a range of materials and items to benefit others. Knitted baby comforters, baby blankets and dolls clothes are going to AberNecessities.

Phyllis continues to grow this crafting community. Requests and gift have not stopped – an amazing effort that has also received a Community Spirit award. This reach and impact would not have been possible without a Wellbeing Fund grant.

You can learn more about this project by watching a video on the Community Craft Project on the Grampian Opportunities YouTube channel (this link will take you away from our website).

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