Ashfield sewing group helps to combat loneliness and isolation

Stitch Sew Support with Ashfield's MP Gloria De Piero
Stitch Sew Support with Ashfield's MP Gloria De Piero

An sewing group is becoming part of the fabric of Ashfield's community as well as a place for members to learn new needlework skills.

Joy Rice was teaching a sewing class at West Notts College where her students enjoyed the class so much she decided to help others.

Ashfield's MP Gloria De Piero visited the group to see the work they do for the community.

Ashfield's MP Gloria De Piero visited the group to see the work they do for the community.

Joy, 65, contacted Self Help UK, a service run by the NHS to ask if she could start a group to tackle loneliness and mental health problems while sewing.

After getting the the go-ahead, Stitch Sew Support was born.

Joy got the group off the ground with funding from The Lottery Community Fund, and the group of 13 now meet on Mondays at the Portland Pathways office in Sutton.

The self-help group is for adults from Ashfield and Mansfield who experience mental health and physical mobility difficulties, and want to learn or improve their sewing skills as a way to reduce their social isolation, loneliness, anxiety and worries in a safe place.

Ashfield's MP Gloria De Piero visited the group to see the work they do for the community.

Ashfield's MP Gloria De Piero visited the group to see the work they do for the community.

Members can share their concerns and issues with other group members on a one to one basis or in the group whilst sewing.

Joy said: "I couldn't believe it when we got the grant from the Lottery Community Fund.

"The room we use also has a side room we can use if any members need a quiet moment.

"We have a lot of members that live at home and might be a bit shy, or feel lonely.

"The group can provide a support network, people chat when they're busy sewing and can let their worries out.

"It's nice to have company and others to talk to who know what you're going through.

"We are trying to secure another date so we can run another group, maybe on a Saturday.

"We are open to anybody."

Group member Jayne Shaw, who has fibromyalgia, said: “It’s nice just to be able to do something again.

"You have good days and bad days and to be able to create something on a good day and feel positive about something is just really nice.”

Sutton resident Dawn, who recently had an operation and a health scare, said: “Sewing has always been my hobby and was my job at one time. It’s nice to be able to come here, make friends and help each other out.”

The group make anything they like under Joy's guidance - members have made bags, dolls and cushions.

They can either keep the things they have made, or sell them to raise money for charity.

Ashfield's MP Gloria De Piero visited the group to see the work they do for the community.
Gloria said: “Stitch Sew Support is a lovely group that makes a huge difference to the lives of those
who attend.
“I am so pleased that Joy has been able to get it up and running and got some much-needed lottery cash to fund it.
“Groups like this are a credit to Ashfield and the strong community spirit we have here.”
Stitch Sew Support runs on Mondays at Portland Pathways on Outram Street.

To find out more contact Joy Rice on stitchsewjrr@virginmedia.com