DESPITE losing their funding, a group of dedicated crafters decided to keep calm and carry on creating a wonderful array of throws, quilts and toys for family and friends while other avenues of funding were researched.
Meeting every week at The Rosses, just off Limavady Road, the members of Caw Creative Craft and Soft Furnishings Club decided to self-finance their creative hobby so that they could continue to indulge in their passion for sewing, embroidery, and telling a few yarns about their week while knitting and crocheting.
Their imaginative and creative skills are also translated into baby blankets, caps and toys for little folk who find themselves in hospital or having to make a journey to hospital in an ambulance.
Set up under the umbrella of Caw Nelson Drive Action Group, the ladies have been meeting on a regular basis for over six years, originally in the former Caw Nelson drive Community House and latterly at The Rosses.
The co-ordinator for the group is Rose White, while the tutor is Annmarie McGrath.
“Originally we started off at the old Community House, that was about six years ago,” said Rose,continuing: “We started the group because we all wanted something different to do, so we contacted Linda Watson at the Community House, and she went about the process of getting funding in place for us, and the group really just took off from there.”
Rose continued: “We started off with about 15 members and we have maintained and increased our numbers over the years.
“We used to meet one morning a week in the Community House and there were so many of us that we used to take over every available space in the building. Anyone coming into the Community House found themselves sandwiched in beside us. “Some of us would be knitting, some doing crochet and there were quilt makers as well. We used to meet every week and have a cup of tea and have a chat.
“We not only have members from Caw Nelson Drive, we have members from Kilfennan and there is a group comes to us from the Cityside as well, and we have people from all over the Waterside.
“It’s a good group of people coming in to craft and socialise. We use our time together to make all sorts of things including blankets, we make things for craft fairs and for premature babies.
“It is a great way to make friends and to stay in touch and it also helps to combat loneliness,” she said.
Linda Watson, who secured funding for the group to start, said she hoped to have a new funding source for the group soon, and stressed the importance of community groups: “There is a whole social interaction aspect to groups such as this, which use art and crafts as a means of bringing isolated people together.
“With this group in particular you have women who worked in the factories and this group now gives then a chance to pass on their skills and knowledge to others as well as allowing them to learn new skills and they get the chance to reminisce about the days of the factory girls and the shirt factory industry in Londonderry which has now died off.
“It is important that these types of group are maintained becaues art and craft are a gret way to help people become included in their community and to enjoy social interaction.
“Crafting also allows people who might never have done any form of creative work to find a new hobby and learn how to do new things in a way that is easy for them.”