The Women Makers Fab Club 50+ project was funded as part of Brightlife’s ‘Bright Ideas’ strand. This fund encouraged local groups, voluntary organisations and businesses to come forward with ideas to reduce isolation and loneliness for older people within areas or communities of interest.
Women Makers Fab Club 50+ was delivered over fifteen months by Heal Earth CIC, a therapeutic horticultural and arts consultancy based in Cheshire, with an award of £17730.
Weekends can be very lonely for some older people: providing activities on Mondays gives participants something to look forward to and starts the week on a positive note.
Encouraging participants to volunteer (in whatever capacity they feel able) can build confidence and self-esteem.
Lack of transport can be a barrier to participation, especially for the most vulnerable.
It can be difficult to engage with health professionals (to encourage referrals) when delivering short-term projects.
Spending time and resources training volunteers helps to sustain provision as well as valuing the skills and experience that older people hav
Development and delivery
The Women Makers Fab Club 50+ project was designed to provide woodwork-based craft sessions for older women, with a view to building their confidence and resilience, improving their overall health and wellbeing, and creating circles of support within their communities.
A programme of free workshops were run in partnership with the ‘Woodwork To Wellness’ craft centre in Saltney, along with a series of outreach sessions in community venues across the local area. Volunteers were recruited and encouraged to explore new business opportunities for delivering sustainable ‘mindful crafts’ workshops themselves.
Impact and legacy
Many participants from the Women Makers Fab Club 50+ project went on to join other Brightlife activities and/or set up their own informal social meetings and groups, including a wood-carving group and a walking group.
Heal Earth CIC received significant benefits from the business support provided by Brightlife during the development and delivery of the Women Makers Fab Club 50+ project, which helped the organisation to become more commercially sustainable. Many of the volunteers from the project also developed business skills as a result of their involvement with Brightlife, with a number going on to work as part-time freelance facilitators for other groups.