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of knowledge and experience. At present, they produce gorgeous jewellery that is reflective of their origins and the industrial heritage of their adopted city.


These projects demonstrate just a few of the ways crafts in the community are supporting adults in the UK, but the therapeutic qualities of craft classes are not just confined to adults. Arts and crafts have had a long history in helping children deal with trauma and anxiety.


Following the devastating Tsunami in 2004, art/craft projects were developed to help the children deal with the loss of their families and communities. These groups enabled the children to express their fears and anxieties in a relaxed environment. More recently, following the Tsunami in Japan last year,


children were


supported through their grieving process through art and crafts. Children were encouraged to express their fears and hopes for the future through pictures which were then


40 | ukhandmade | Spring 2012


exhibited around the world, with visitors to the exhibits encouraged to respond with postcards to the children. Through art, the children have been able to communicate their anxieties and reach out to the rest of the world.


Closer to home, community craft groups have long been established for pre-school children to help them develop fine motor skills and communication skills within a setting outside the family home. Local groups for children and their carers allow the children to interact with their peers, whilst experimenting with age appropriate craft techniques.


A craft revival is also taking place in schools across the country with parents/craft teachers volunteering to teach knitting, sewing, photography and other crafts. These after school classes are often open to every child in the school above a certain age. They are an opportunity for children of all abilities and


needs to interact, providing a safe environment for children to use their imagination and create something by themselves. Children that may need support in the classroom environment are able to contribute to a group that isn’t assessed or requires them to attain a certain level. With the right adult support in the club, these children can achieve a sense of inclusion, which will increase their self-esteem.


As one of these volunteer teachers in a local school, I work weekly with 12 children teaching sewing. The children are all aged eight or over and come from a variety of backgrounds and abilities. With the support of a trained teaching assistant, our club has an inclusion policy and can accommodate children who need extra support with their behaviour. These children are free to express themselves creatively and it is very exciting to watch their self-confidence grow as they suggest ideas to the group and create gifts for their families.


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