Making my dream a reality
Mary is a Phoenix resident who has lived in the Bromley area for 3 years. She tells us about her experience of setting up ‘Mary’s Creative Crochet’ with help from our Pop-up Project Programme.
I started to crochet at the age of 11. I’ve been crocheting for 9 years and I now have my own part time business selling crocheted clothes for children. I also like to crochet pieces for friends and family, including my grandson, and recently finished making a matching two piece set, dress and cardigan. During my spare time I also crochet pieces for local charities such as knitted chicks for St Christopher’s Hospice and red poppies for people to wear on Remembrance Day.
I wanted to start my own crochet group because I found it therapeutic, it always helped me to stay focused during some challenging times when I was struggling with my health. I was a part of The Sewing Surgery at Grove Hill Court and this made me want to set up my own project to teach other residents how to crochet, so that they could experience the therapeutic and social benefits that I had.
One Wednesday, I met Lisa from the Pop-up Project Programme. Lisa told me about the programme and how she could help and support me to set up my own group. I was really inspired and decided this would be the way to take my idea and make it a reality.
I had an initial meeting where we spoke about my dreams and aspirations to help others to ignite their creative skills through creative arts. Lisa was always encouraging and inspired me to move forward.
Initially I wanted to deliver the project across Phoenix estates but then lockdown and social distancing happened! So, we decided to move to an online project that would be delivered via video call. I was put in touch with fellow resident and Digital Champion John who supported me with IT training and how to use Zoom for the classes. With support from the Pop-up Project Programme I also did training on data protection, confidence building and learnt how to use Canva to create my own promotional materials. I’ve gone from a novice to making my own professional leaflet!
With help from Lisa, I applied for funding from Lewisham & Greenwich Mind to deliver the project and was successful! With the funding I’ve been able to provide sewing kits to people who wanted to take part but didn’t have the necessary kit.
‘Mary’s Creative Crochet’ started in September and so far it’s gone really well! Initially I’d aimed to have 10 join the course but so far have had 14 sign up which is wonderful! The first week I did an introduction where everyone got to know each other a bit better, it was lovely for everyone to meet some new friendly faces (although virtually) and be sociable!
On week 2 we dived right in and I introduced the group to granny square. We’re now three weeks into the course and everyone is really enjoying it! I think the group are enjoying picking up a new hobby and try something new while meeting new people and hopefully making some new friends!
I would 100% recommend other residents to get involved with the Pop-up Projects Programme. For me, the programme has helped me make my dream a reality, even when facing challenges. Crochet has helped me through tough times and improved my wellbeing. Maybe you have skills to share that can help and encourage others to get involved with the community. If you want to set up your own group, check out the Pop-up Projects Programme!