July 15th saw a celebration hosted by ‘Crafty Women’, a craft group for women, to mark the first term of a new Tuesday group and the end of a summer season of creative activity. The event was attended by members and guests, including representatives from Arts Alive Wales, Monmouthshire Housing Association, and Martin Hickman, Mayor of Abergavenny.
Crafty Women is a creative craft group managed by Arts Alive Wales and funded by a grant from money raised by HealthControl through The Health Lottery. Grown from an initiative between MHA and Arts Alive Wales in 2013, the group has gone from strength to strength. Two groups are now up and running on Tuesday and Friday mornings, offering women in North Abergavenny the chance to get involved with a creative craft group, learn skills and make new friends.
With a craft workshop, live saxophone music and a song from one of the group’s members, the celebration event was certainly lively. Martin Hickman commented “It brings the community together and it’s nice to see that people have something to do … everybody’s very friendly and it has a nice community feel.”
Mr. Hickman and guests tried their hand at needle felting and conversed with members of both Crafty Women groups. A colourful exhibition of dresses, felt work, book art, textiles and tea cosies was shown and items were on sale to raise funds. Clayton Charles, Senior Neighbourhood Officer from the Monmouthshire Housing Association praised the display — “I’m no expert on sewing, but the work looks fantastic. I think that if they can sell what they are making and go forward to become a self-sustaining group, it’ll be an amazing achievement.”
The strength of the group was clear from the progress that has been made in skills since the first group started in January 2013, and for the role that the founder members are playing in shaping and supporting the new group. Sian Phillips, Arts Alive Wales trustee commented on the achievements of the group – “From the people I’ve spoken to here, they look at it in a really positive way and they feel that coming to the Crafty Women sessions gets them to know a wider circle of people even within their own area of Abergavenny. I think it helps people combat loneliness and gives people the confidence to help others.”
Crafty Women meet on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am-12pm at Wellfield Close Hall. For more information about the project or if you are interested in joining Crafty Women, please call Kathy Young at Arts Alive Wales on 01873 811579, firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Naomi Pearson at Monmouthshire Housing Association on 01495 767187.
The Health Lottery is operated for and on behalf of 51 Community Interest Companies across England, Scotland and Wales, all holding society lottery licenses issued by the Gambling Commission. www.healthlottery.co.uk