Textiles Project Providing Education and Employment Opportunities for Residents

At Cygnet Woodside in West Yorkshire two people are working hard to advocate the therapeutic power of craft for a group of residents at our West Yorkshire residential services.

The Textiles project, run by Mu and his assistant Rita, has been going for seven years. The project provides both education and employment opportunities for residents across West Yorkshire.

Mu and Rita work hard to empower everyone who walks through the door to achieve what they want to. They’re happy to push people and encourage them to learn new skills, but equally happy to support people to do the things they enjoy.

One resident really loves cutting out the fabric. They had no desire to sew it up into anything but really loved that first step in the production process. So that resident is partly responsible for a lot of the finished products that the textiles project creates. Mu has asked that resident many times if they would like to try their hand at sewing, but the resident is happy with what they know, and Mu is happy for them to continue.

The products that the textiles project create are sold to staff and family members, they include stuffed animals, aprons, peg bags, soft balls, and pom-poms. The project even makes Christmas decorations for all of the residential services in West Yorkshire. All of the residents are paid for their time when they’re working in the project, it is a friendly environment where people are encouraged to do their best.

Recently a resident was finishing a tapestry piece, despite being paid for their time they were determined that the finished piece would be put on their bedroom wall. Of course Mu is fine with that, the finished piece will add a lovely personal touch to the resident’s room, and that’s a really good outcome.

“We believe the Textiles Project doesn’t only offer the opportunity to learn skills like knitting, sewing, weaving etc. It is also a place to unwind and socialise with people from different homes. This in turn leads to residents gaining confidence to progress in their day to day lives. Several of our residents used to attend with their support staff but are now able to not only attend on their own but also travel on public transport independently. In the New Year we hope to introduce new skills such as batik work. This could get messy with dyes and glue but could also produce interesting results!Mu Rushwaya, Textiles Lead

And despite being busy producing lovely items for sale the textiles project still have time for ad hoc tasks. When Raf Hamaizia, Cygnet’s Expert by Experience Lead, visited recently they managed to help him out of a bind when the button popped off his jacket. It was soon stitched back into place.

“The work they do at the Textiles project is a really lovely example of using coproduction to the benefit of our residents. The people working in the project are all focussed on the same objectives and the soft toys are just one product of that time spent together.”Raf Hamaizia, Expert by Experience Lead

The textiles project does not operate in isolation, it is one of four projects that are run for the residents in West Yorkshire. The other projects include a fully-functional commercial bakery, a gardening project complete with poly tunnel and chickens, and the education project where residents can learn a multitude of skills, many of them resulting in ASDAN qualifications. The projects run to ensure residents have the ability to build their portfolio of skills, and to provide meaningful activities with concrete outputs.

If you would like to know more about the Textiles Project please contact project lead Mu Rushwaya at [email protected].

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