When Philip moved into St Alban’s Court in Wolverhampton, it didn’t take him long to start to think of how he could bring people together. We caught up with his recently to find out more, here Philip takes up the story…
“I’ve always been creative and love making things, so my first thought was to set up some kind of craft group. I mentioned this to my neighbourhood coach who told me about YouCan and how they offer grants for community projects – so I got to work on completing the application form. Not long after I’d submitted it, I was told that we had been awarded £300 to help get my idea off the ground.
“There were a few people who said that they would be interested in joining the group but who were lacking in confidence – convinced that they weren’t creative enough to get involved. With this in mind, I decided to start off with relatively simple crafts that helped them to build their confidence.
“Most of the grant was spent on tools, wood and paint but with a little of the money from YouCan I bought some (fire-retardant) Christmas trees from Ebay. These were cut up to create 4ft – 6ft lengths which were then shaped into rings and decorations such as pine cones and lights were added to create festive garlands. The results were amazing…with the three neighbours who didn’t think they could do it, creating absolutely beautiful, handmade decorations. Which just goes to show – you never know what you’re capable of until you try.
“With the encouragement of neighbourhood coaches Lewis and Philippa, the group is going from strength to strength. At the moment we’re working on order of coat racks and plaques destined for a shop in London. To involve the whole of the community, we’ve now opened it up anyone in the neighbourhood who knows someone from the group so hopefully we’ll be welcoming some new faces soon.
“Our aim is make and sell as much as possible, with some of the profits invested back into the group to buy more materials, and the rest being split between two good causes.
Half of the profits will go to the neo-natal unit at New Cross hospital in Wolverhampton, with the rest going to help mums and their children who are moving into new homes after spending time in women’s refuge centres. The idea is that we would (anonymously) give the money in the form of toy shop gift tokens to help bring a bit of happiness to children and help them to settle in their new home.
“We meet up every Thursday evening, and in the short-time that the group has been going we’ve already seen the benefits that it’s bringing to the members. As well as making some wonderful crafts, confidence in the group is building and we’re starting to see friendships bloom and grow between people who might otherwise be alone in their flats getting together with their neighbours.”
If you’d like to get involved in the group, please email Philip at email@example.com
Feeling inspired? Why not apply for you own grant to help you bring your ideas to life?