Sewing support with skills from a creative community course

Sewing support with skills from a creative community course

A crafty College student has sparked a wave of creativity among a local community by decorating a local park with bunting and pom poms – and sewn support for the NHS.

Determined to spread cheer during the Covid-19 pandemic, Fiona Gilliland put her new found skills to the test, with permission of the Friends of Flixton Gardens, and local residents have been joining in.

Pom poms, bunting and knitted creations, from bees to ladybirds, adorn the gardens on Flixton Road, which was a welcome sanctuary for Fiona during the limited periods she could leave the house during lockdown.

Fiona said: “I just wanted to do something positive. I had already decorated my own garden to show support for the NHS but I was really surprised to see it take off among so many residents and families.”

Fiona enrolled on the creative craft course run by Trafford College at Broomwood Community Wellbeing Centre, after becoming unemployed due to ill health, and credits the course for improving her confidence and wellbeing, which has helped her cope during the pandemic.

She has since received recognition for her efforts with a student award for Community Learning at Trafford College’s annual ceremony, which was held virtually this year.

Fiona said: “I started off by making jewellery which progressed into learning a wide range of different craft skills. Our tutor was amazing, very knowledgeable and supportive. As well as decorating the local park, I joined the Scrubs for Manchester group and made scrub bags for the NHS and tiny masks for teddies, to help young children get used to seeing more of these around.”

Since joining the course, Fiona’s social circle has increased with her joining other craft groups, the Women’s Institute and volunteering at Venture Arts in Hulme.

“I was on my own during lockdown and struggle with anxiety sometimes, but the course has equipped me with skills to help me help myself. I’d really recommend getting involved in community learning for anyone who feels isolated as who knows what the future holds?”