Cestria supports community craft group
Published by Kelly Elliott for Cestria Community Housing in Housing and also in Communities
Members of the Memory Lane craft group with their new sewing machines.
A community craft group which helps people suffering from illness and mental health problems has received a cash boost from a County Durham housing association to buy two new sewing machines.
The Memory Lane Group, which meets at the Cornerstones Centre for the Community – part of the Chester-le-Street Methodist Church, has been awarded £300 from Cestria Community Housing’s Community Benefits Fund, which helps community groups and individuals in the town.
The group was set up just over a year ago by Chester-le-Street resident Miriam Davies as a way to bring together local knitting, sewing, crochet and quilting enthusiasts.
Keen craft fan Miriam, 69, had been forced to leave her job as a social worker because of stress and had sought help from the church’s Cornerstones project.
Miriam said: “I came to Cornerstones when I was experiencing some problems and just needed a place to meet people and have a coffee. I’ve always been keen on knitting and sewing and a craft group seemed a great way to bring people together who might be experiencing similar difficulties.
“The group has gone from strength to strength and has grown so that we have about 20 regular members. Whether it’s people with depression or someone with a serious health problem such as cancer, it’s a place to unwind, relax and talk to people who’ve been through the same thing.
“And of course there’s the opportunity to learn from each other when it comes to the craft side of things.”
The Cornerstones Centre for the Community opened in September 2010 following an eight-year campaign to raise the£1m needed, with £200,000 of this collected through fundraising and the rest sourced through grants. The work to raise the money needed was carried out solely by volunteers.
The centre is now used for a variety of community activities including coffee mornings, Brownies, toddler groups, the Boys’ Brigade and the Memory Lane craft group.
Debra Divanis, community development manager at the Methodist Church, said: “Interest in the group has spread through word of mouth. And in some ways it’s become a victim of its own success – it got so many members that queues were forming for the sewing machines!
“So this grant from Cestria’s Community Benefits Fund will really make a difference. It will be a big help to the group and will help them create more beautiful work which they can share with others at craft fairs and fetes.”
Cestria’s head of corporate services Christine Scott said: “The Memory Lane Group is a real inspiration. It’s just the sort of organisation the Community Benefits Fund was set up to help.
“The group is making a real difference to people’s quality of life in the community where they’re based.
“We’re glad we’ve been able to help them with this grant which will mean they can continue to thrive. We wish them every success with their group in the future.”
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