Clothing with a conscience!
Charities are facing some of their most difficult times in 2018. Government funding has decreased massively leading to more competition for other sources of funding such as from trusts. Charities are stepping in and taking more of an active role than ever before to do the work not being done by government, yet frequently face the risk of closure due to a lack of funds.
Clothing for Change (CfC) not only creates an internal source of funding meaning we’re not reliant on ever-decreasing sources of income, but takes the Foundation for Change approach of using education to change the lives of people who people who have been socially excluded.
It is run by Bex Exell, a graduate of two of FfC’s programmes. She is a trained tailor and costumier and wanted to give something back to FfC and enable other people’s lives to be changed like hers was. It involves 3 elements:
1) Selling garments designed by Bex that will generate income for FfC, enabling individuals to access FfC’s range of educational courses. Currently sold on Etsy and showcased on Instagram, the aim is to develop the clothing line so that it is stocked by independent retailers and online. Each item comes with literature about CfC and how profits are donated to FfC so that it also raises awareness about our cause.
2) Bex will run a six month, twice a year project for people with histories of addiction and who have an interest in tailoring – making their own clothes, altering existing clothes or pursuing a new, creative hobby. Participants will learn the basics of garment construction and tailoring and will learn to make a signature piece over the six month course, with final versions being sold alongside Bex’s creations.
They will work towards a level 1, recognised ‘Qualification in Progression’ and be given a precious opportunity to explore how creativity can be harnessed to help individuals realise their potential.
Other benefits experienced by the participants include:
- Improved organisation and analytical skills, time management and problem solving.
- Improved interpersonal skills as a result of being part of a small group for six months.
- Raised awareness around individuals’ own personal skills, some of which they may have been unaware of prior to starting CfC.
- The ability to produce and upcycle own clothing.
- Experiencing the joy of creativity.
3) As Clothing for Change develops and grows, graduates will be able to complete a six month volunteer placement working for the retail side of CfC where they will build on both personal and professional skills, such as photography, Photoshop, networking and customer relations. There is the potential for future employment so that Clothing for Change employees graduates of its programmes meaning that it will be entirely led by beneficiaries.