Sewing classes in Halifax Minster are forging new relationships and strengthening community.
The Revd Nancy White, assistant curate at Todmorden, and the Minster’s Education Officer has been working with Halifax Opportunities Trust for the last 18 months ever since the Trust answered an ad she placed asking for sewing volunteers for the Minster.
Now the Minster can boast monks’ habits and chasubles and other dressing up items for children as well as new stoles – and it has forged new and lasting relationships in the community.
“Working together, we have created sewing days,“ explained Nancy.
“I was looking for sewing volunteers for the Minster, and the Opportunities Trust was looking for volunteering opportunities for some of the women on the Home Office courses they run – and it just worked,” she said.
Halifax Opportunities Trust is a social enterprise charity which has its heart in the more deprived Park Ward area of Halifax. It provides opportunities to help people find new or better jobs, learn new skills or grow their own businesses. It enables people to improve their literacy and numeracy and provides child care to support them while they are learning.
Many of the women involved in the Sewing Days are relatively new to the UK and have come from quite isolated communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan so there are a lot of new experiences to be had – not least working inside a medieval Christian church.
Said Nancy: “It’s been wonderful because we’re all learning new skills together. We have great conversations, despite our language barriers, and the women are learning to trust people outside their community.
“And the joy on their faces when they’ve created something, is just wonderful to see,” she added.