We met with Gabi, Corinne and some of the ladies who are part of the Sewing2gether All Nations community group in Paisley.
Prior to lockdown, we might have had a good chat over a cuppa in Mossvale Community Church café before sitting in on a flurry of sewing activity and conversation, possibly followed by a hearty lunch. In these strange times, we had to make do with Zoom, but the new online space hasn’t held this community back. In fact, they’re busier and bigger than ever.
As a hub of community support in Paisley, Sewing2gether All Nations is now in its 3rd year and going strong. Love and kindness flows from Gabi and Corinne when they speak about their work, and it is reflected right back at them by the inspiring women they work with. In fact, it is clear that Sewing2Gether is one big family, and that is what makes it so special for everyone involved. The group is a safe space for skillsharing, creativity, learning, language, support and a load of fun too.
One year into lockdown, the group has grown from around 30 ladies meeting weekly in the church hall, to supporting 55 participants across Renfrewshire and Glasgow, including children. Gabi spends a few days each fortnight driving around with pre-prepared sewing packs, food and supplies, catching up with families on their doorsteps and finding out what people need. The group have even received funding to provide some of their community with sewing machines in their own home, and thanks to popular demand from the kids in their community, are now helping mums teach their kids hand-sewing skills.
Sewing2gether have turned their skills and creativity towards the pandemic effort too, including sewing masks for people stuck in the asylum system who were moved into hotel rooms across Glasgow last year.
Razieh, from Iran, who has been supported by Sewing2gether since she arrived in Glasgow over 2 years ago, spoke about wanting to give back to a community which has helped her during her time of crisis.
“I don’t have money to support other people financially because of my status, but I wanted to do something to help Scottish people in the pandemic. We sewed matching pairs of hearts for Covid-19 patients and their loved ones and I was so happy to be able to do something.”
Razieh writes and paints, and hopes one day to write and share her life story. Gabi was one of the first people she met in Scotland, and it was a lifechanging meeting which has led to learning English and new skills, making new friends and staying connected in these difficult times.
“We are a really big group now. They are my family. This is an amazing place for people who have come here in need of safety – nobody judges us for who we are, we are welcomed in and helped so much. I can’t explain how much this community does for me, for all of us.”
Fahima, from Syria, added:
“We are strangers to Scotland, but here we can meet new people and make new friends, and learn about Scottish culture. In lockdown, it is nice to still have zoom meetings, to see people’s faces and know that we can talk to them. I feel safe and know that I’m not alone. I have learnt so much from this community and they are such lovely people.”
“With this group, we can laugh, talk and forget about our past. Just enjoying the moment with good people. It’s all of us, that’s what makes it special.”
Do you have a story to share from your community? Contact our Storytelling Officer Chris Afuakwah.