Two Nottingham business partners are launching a new weekend craft club designed to boost people’s health and wellbeing after they won a Dragon’s Den-style bidding contest.
Menekse Stewart and Emma Rees were awarded £700 following their triumph and plan to use it in order to get their new venture, the Nottingham Craft Club, which will meet once a month starting on Saturday, July 14, off the ground.
The pair are both avid crafters and already run a weekday craft club, which is attended by 70 people, every month at the Ugly Bread Bakery in Market Street but have always wanted to do something at the same venue for people who could not attend because of work commitments.
In order to get their new club off the ground, they took part in a bidding event called Hard Heads and Hang Ups, which was held at the THiNK in NG meeting space in Cobden Place, Nottingham, and invited organisations to pitch for money for projects which set out to improve people’s mental health.
The £700 came from money raised on the night as well as a donation from East Midlands chemical company Lubrizol, which is based in Hazelwood, Derbyshire, and has already funded a number of mental health charity ventures over the past 18 months.
Menekse and Emma were up against three other bidding teams and explained how a craft hobby, such as needlework or jewellery-making, is rewarding and can help boost people’s well-being.
They said they would use the money to create small craft kits, which people could buy at the Saturday morning club and which would give them all the materials they would need in order to learn a new skill.
A panel of judges agreed that their pitch was the best of the night and awarded the money to Menekse and Emma, who already run a craft business together called Cheerfully Given.
Menekse said: “Winning the pitch was a bit surreal because we didn’t decide to enter it until quite late on and so we hadn’t really prepared as much as we would usually done.
“We set up our club aiming to get people who might be experiencing loneliness or mental health issues together and it’s exciting to know that other people are interested in what we’re aiming to do.
“The money will pay for the kits, which we make ourselves and which will be new for each meeting, but people are welcome to bring their own craft projects along. The most important aspects are the social side to the event and crafting, which more and more people are realising can have a significant positive effect on their wellbeing and outlook.”
Karen Clegg, charities and communities manager at Lubrizol, said: “All of the pitches at the event had merit, but Menekse and Emma explained the connection between crafting and mental health very well and they had a strong idea of how the money would be used.
“I enjoy painting to poetry and I realise very well how therapeutic they are for me. Even taking an hour or two out every now and then to do something creative can make a huge difference to someone’s life and so we’re confident that Menekse and Emma’s club has the potential to benefit the whole of the community.”
The Nottingham Craft Club will meet for the first time at Ugly Bread Bakery in Market Street on Saturday July 14 at 10am and places are limited.
To find out more visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nottingham-craft-club-on-a-saturday-1-tickets-47130134501
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