Supporting local creativity
In two short years, Blackford Crafters has gone from strength to strength attracting 15 regular attendees to their twice-monthly get together. The secret to their success is a warm welcome with no real expectations. A chance for local people to come together socially and be creative whether that is making a birthday card for someone or learning to crochet for the very first time. But what it has also done is provide a wonderful setting for sharing and developing skills in the wider community.
Evenings can be everything from learning how to wrap and decorate parcels, to decoupage, embossing, quilting and knitting. It’s also about spending time away from the pressures of life and doing something they enjoy. The group encourages people to try things and through peer learning develop new skills. One lady was keen to learn how to crochet and can now pass those skills onto others.
The group has a self-help approach which means they try and ensure they are inclusive and accessible to all especially for those on low incomes. Those who come along pay £1 to help cover costs making attendance very affordable. Without this, the group would need at least 11 people each week just to make ends meet, with no spare money for materials.
A recent grant through Blackford Community Fund, which receives monies from the EDF-ER Burnfoot cluster of wind farms, covered the group’s membership to Remake Scotland a national organisation that provides community groups with cheap and alternative art and craft supplies. The community regularly donate materials. This is important to the group which promotes a low carbon footprint – re-cycling, up-cycling and re-using materials already owned.
We would love to see our numbers grow even more and to attract people with young families. The group is not just aimed at women, we would welcome men along too. We hope to have an Open Day soon running small craft workshops so they can find out more about us. Occasional small grants like the EDF-ER grant makes a huge difference to us, ensuring the group’s long term sustainability. Most importantly we are able to offer anyone who is interested the chance to come along, learn new skills and make new friends for a small financial contribution – making the group accessible for everyone.
Irene McLaughlan, event organiser