While we’ve previously laid out how you can use your craft skills to help others, some initiatives are slightly more hands-off. The Crafts Council’s exploratory 2019 study Craft and Social Enterprises illustrated the potential power of craft social enterprises to transform communities, putting social justice and purpose at the heart of what they do. It’s all good stuff: the study demonstrated, among other things, how participants developed skills to generate an income stream that is ploughed back into the local economy. There are number of social enterprises promoting craft skills across the UK that you can support – find out how below.
Set up by the Spitalfields Crypt Trust, Restoration Station is a non-profit initiative that sells restored vintage furniture directly from its East London workshop where people in recovery from drink and drug addictions learn woodwork and upholstery skills. You can support participants in the programme by purchasing beautifully restored 20th-century pieces, including furniture, tools, ceramics and toys, from its Shoreditch High Street shop – set to reopen from 14 April. Restoration Station also takes on private commissions and can help you with bespoke projects using reclaimed materials.
Fine Cell Work
The charity empowers prisoners and ex-prisoners across Britain to build fulfilling and crime-free lives by providing training in sewing, embroidery, quilting and patchwork, as well as opportunities for paid employment that makes the most of these newfound skills. Shop handmade cushions, gifts and more (which you can also have personalised), or commission an original artwork.
The non-profit social enterprise based in Bushmills, Northern Ireland, supports creative and entrepreneurial skills by selling handcrafted homewares, with many products inspired by the Northern Irish countryside and coastal areas. Shop its collection online (click and collect available from 12 April), or book a workshop.
Designer Patrick Grant launched Community Clothing with a simple goal: to sell quality affordable clothes, while helping to create jobs and restore economic prosperity in some of the UK’s most deprived areas. Every garment is made here in the UK in one of the brand’s 28 partner factories, all meeting the highest ethical standards. Shop the collection online.
The UK-wide charity works to tackle the environmental and social impacts of clothing production, consumption and disposal by providing the British public with a network of over 1,500 charity clothes banks, home collection and charity shops. As a result, around 3,000 tonnes of clothes are diverted from landfill and incineration each year. If you have items to donate to TRAID, drop them off at a clothes recycling bank, or book a free home collection (available in London, Slough, Windsor, Surrey and parts of Hertfordshire including St Albans and Harpenden). Plus, TRAID’s online eBay and Depop stores remain active alongside its physical stores reopening.
Founded by Emily Mathieson, a former travel editor for The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and Red, non-profit organisation Aerende is an online shop selling products and gifts for the home, all of them made in the UK by people facing social challenges. Each purchase from its range of ethical homewares (produced in low-volume batches) directly supports and provides opportunities for its makers. Shop its collection, which includes ceramics, candles, kitchen accessories and more. If you’re in the hospitality sector and looking to improve your sustainability, the Hertfordshire-based social enterprise also takes commissions for textile items created to your specification.