Social Enterprise Category Winner: SIGNIFICANT SEAMS
Significant Seams is a social enterprise that aims to builds community and supports people in vulnerable life moments. Significant Seams uses the health & well-being characteristics of sewing to breakdown isolation, support vulnerable people, and foster healthier communities. It also provides a space called the “Community Living Room” for local people to meet others and learn new skills.
Significant Seams works in partnerships with children’s centres, community centres, domestic violence and sexual violence charities, museums, galleries, arts organisations and other local groups. Signature programmes all engage participants in crafting while learning something else. For instance, Sew and Tell ESL” provides English language tuition to women with no English language experience and often, very low literacy in any language.
Significant Seams strengths are its profile, its volunteers, its distinctive programmes, its presence on the High Street, plus the passion, commitment and determination of its founder, Catherine West. In three years she has led the business from a pushchair full of sewing machines into an internationally-respected and profitable social enterprise doing innovative work cross-cutting traditional sectors. In 2014, the organization’s fourth community quilt project engaged roughly 200 women from across Waltham Forest. It exhibited in Birmingham at the Festival of Quilts and in London at the Eklectik Gallery reaching audiences in excess of 20,000. In 2014 Significant Seams contributed to three major Waltham Forest Community Events that engaged an estimated 40,000 people. The retail business has expanded to include wool, and the Stitch & Craft Library contents have exceeded 1100 catalogued items.