‘It makes such a difference’ - the positive impact of crafting and chatting



Continuing craft sessions over Zoom throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been vital to the wellbeing of members of a community group - and now they are meeting up again.

One of the crafting sessions that the group has held as a way of continuing its activities which are

One of the crafting sessions that the group has held as a way of continuing its activities which are designed to help wellbeing Picture: WALKNCRAFT GROUP - Credit: WALKNCRAFT GROUP

Mildenhall-based WalknCraft, which sees women coming together for walking, crafting and chat, managed to continue their art sessions online during lockdown and members have recently started their twice a month local walks, limited to six people at a time due to Covid restrictions.

Allison Holloway, group secretary, said: “ArtatworkNorwich, who started the group, encouraged us to keep it going before they handed over the reins last October. It felt like we had just started to form again as a group when lockdown happened and put a lot of our plans on hold.

“But we have had some fun Zoom sessions, some of it carrying out abstract art and learning new techniques such as Pointillism, an art form using dots, and we have more planned between now and the end of the year.

“We’ve also been making scrub bags for the NHS, face masks, knitting, painting, upcycling old furniture and much more.

Councillors Richard Alecock, left, Andy Neal and Ian Shipp with the locality budget cheque for the W

Councillors Richard Alecock, left, Andy Neal and Ian Shipp with the locality budget cheque for the WalknCraft group Picture: WALKNCRAFT GROUP - Credit: WALKNCRAFT GROUP

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“Being able to continue like this has been so important, some of our members are isolated and for all of us it is a chance to totally immerse ourselves in some of the arts and craft challenges. It really makes such a difference and we all come away feeling so much better for it. We didn’t all know each other before we started, but now we are great friends, they are just absolutely lovely people.”

The group, which normally meets at St John’s Community Centre in Mildenhall, has been supported by independent West Suffolk Councillors Richard Alecock, Andy Neal and Ian Shipp who each gave £200 from their locality budget for craft materials.

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Mr Neal, who represents the Queensway ward, said: “WalknCraft has adapted to Covid-19 to ensure their members, some of whom may have been lonely or suffering from the anxiety of lockdown, are able to chat to friendly faces and share in an activity that lifts their sense of wellbeing.”

And Mr Shipp, who represents Kingsway and Market ward, said: “Mildenhall, and the work of WalknCraft is a great example of how people in our communities rally round to help each other. We are privileged to be able to work with the group in their activities to reduce loneliness and help improve people’s physical and mental health.”

The three councillors have also supported other projects in Mildenhall, including the Mildenhall COVID-19 volunteer emergency response and EPIC Dad for baby and parenting resources.

Mr Alecock, who represents the Great Heath ward, added: “There are so many great groups in our local community in Mildenhall and it is a pleasure to be able to support them in their work helping each other, especially during what has been an extremely difficult few months for us all.”

To find out more about WalknCraft, which has a couple of spare places, email allyh1957@gmail.com or call 07882 643824 – and see their work on Instagram at WalknCraft.

Councillors across West Suffolk have a locality budget available to community groups for projects or activities that the whole local community can enjoy. To apply, contact your ward local councillor.

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