The latest business in the spotlight is a non-for profit group Crafters Connect 4A Cause. We caught up with the founder, Shelley to see how they are making a difference in reducing waste to landfill.

How did the idea of the group “Crafters Connect 4A Cause” come about?

The idea to donate up-cycled clothes began when I was sewing small clothes at home from my remnants and donating them to op shops. This idea then grew after meeting with Claire, the director of the Sustainable Activity Centre (SAC), where I talked about what I was doing with old clothing and turning them into usable items. Claire loved the idea and had a much bigger vision to grow this idea. From there we started using the SAC as a location for people to come to sessions of Crafters Connect 4A Cause. These sessions meant we were able to make many more items and offer them directly to people in need.

Tell us more about Crafters Connect 4A cause

The group started off with just a couple of people turning up each session and it has now grown to have around 8-10 attendees, with another 10 on the list (so around 20 volunteers in total). They are a wonderful group of sewers, with varying levels of skill but all are enthusiastic. We meet once a month and
make items for a local charity. We use donated items, and occasionally purchase what we don’t have from the local charity shops. We have been able to help many people since we started over 2 years ago. We have made over 500 items, and support around 10 local charities.

Can you tell us about how you came across using fabric samples from a Lawton Interiors, otherwise destined for landfill to make items for those in need?

The Halve Waste team came to us after completing a business waste assessment for Lawton Interiors, looking for solutions for fabric samples that were redundant. These samples were being sent to landfill as they were no longer needed and no recycling options were available for them. After talking with the Halve Waste team, the group decided they could use the fabric and turn it into items for those in need, such as toiletry bags rather than the material ending up in landfill.

How successful has it been using the fabric samples from Lawton Interiors?

From the redundant fabric samples we received, we have been able to make several new items including toiletry bags, quilts, baby change mats and even boomerang bags. To date we have made 32 toiletry bags and 5 quilts from material otherwise destined for landfill.

Are there other ‘saved materials’ you have identified and been able to use?

Lots of things! Most of the stuff we make is from donated fabrics that would have been thrown away. A few good examples are the dog toys, which are made from thin strips of fleece (they’re no good for anything else) and the dog beds, which are filled with old jumpers and pillows from charity shops, as well as the outer covers are usually quilts.
Last year we received a donation of wool blankets that had holes cut out, so they were rubbish. We were able to cut out the pieces that were left into pouches for wildlife rescue. We aim for zero waste in our craft room, so use our offcuts from sewing to stuff door snakes and ottomans.

What are the positive outcomes you have seen from starting up Crafters Connect 4A Cause?

This has been a great opportunity for people from different areas of the community working together – first the Halve Waste team found the fabric, then we were able to collect it and the CC4AC team made it into useful items and passed them on to organisations like Restart (a community based, volunteer run charity organisation) who distributed it to people in need which included
housing packs to youths, families and individuals experiencing hardship.
We have taken materials considered rubbish, and made beautiful functional items which are now in use by people who had nothing. It’s my favourite thing.

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