Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Fine Cell Work – exhibition of work

This excellent charity is one of the causes supported by the Needlemakers’ Charitable Fund. The background to this, and much of our charitable support, is that we support people who use needles as the manufacture of needles has ceased within the UK.

I make no apology for quoting Fine Cell’s mission directly – I couldn’t express it better. Have a look at their website for further information Fine Cell Work. Fine Cell Work trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells to foster hope, discipline and self esteem. This helps them to connect to society and to leave prison with the confidence and financial means to stop offending.

Both my mother and grandmother (who trained as a milliner) were fine needlewomen so although I may not be very skilled I can tell good work when I see it. I have several cushions and the quality of the work is superb. The designs range from the traditional to the funky.

More importantly - some of the stories told by the prisoners are very moving. They are paid for their work and the purchaser is encouraged to write a letter of thanks – just first names – and some report crying when they receive these letters. I defy you to read some of the stories with dry eyes.

So it was a delight and a privilege to be invited to represent the Needlemakers at a reception at the Glaziers’ Hall for a pre-Christmas display and sale of work. Fine Cell Work has been commissioned by the Glaziers to produce a triptych for the Hall – the work will be done in up to 100 separate batches in different prisons and the design looks stunning. It was also a chance to see the quilt that was created for Help for Heroes listing all the different regiments serving in Afghanistan.

Fine Cell Work receives support from a number of the Livery Companies and I am proud that ours is one of them.

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