Britain Cares

embroidery that reads "just a note to let you know I CARE #britaincares"

“Social care is the support that many disabled people need to live ordinary lives. Depending on the person’s needs, it might be help with dressing, washing, eating, using the toilet, communicating or getting from place to place to do everyday things like going to the shops…” – Scope

Next week the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George (or Jeffrey, if you are Barack Obama) Osborne, will announce the next round of cuts to public service in the Spending Review. I feel very strongly about the impact of ‘the cuts’ on our society as a whole. Britain has one of the highest rates of social inequality in the world, which is just appalling and this inequality has a dreadful impact on those who are more vulnerable, like the elderly or disabled, those people who are reliant on social care. I believe that those of us who are able to have a responsibility to speak out about this, however we can. Which is why, in the light of there being even more spending cuts next week, I was inspired to cross stitch a card for my MP by the Britain Cares campaign.

Lead by the charity Scope, the Britain Cares campaign is asking people to let their MPs know that they care and to tell their MPs public funding for social care should be safeguarded and not cut by the government. And you can do this by making a card, like I have above, sending your MP decorated soap or socks – so they would see your message everyday to remind them of the impact the lack of social care can have – or even just by simply taking a photo and sending an email.

There are still 4 days until the spending review, so plenty of time if you would like to get involved – please have a look at the Britain Cares website and ask your MP to protect vulnerable people.


The Stitch-in: #imapiece Reading

Craft. It’s often seen as a lonely and solitary activity, sedate and relaxing, an escape. And whilst it can be all these things, one of the beauties of the modern craft movement it that craft has become empowering, active, public and deeply social.

I’ve attended a few stitch-ins with the Craftivist Collective and I felt very strongly that I wanted to help spread the word about the #impiece jigsaw project, about inequality and about the impact the G8 could have on so many people’s lives. I really wanted to organise a stitch-in of my own, but as a new girl in a new town I wasn’t sure if anyone would come. But, with special thanks to Alabama Whirly, The Jelly Reading and RISC’s global cafe, on 29th January 2013 I nervously, but excitedly, hosted a stitch-in and the most wonderful group of local crafters met to sew beautiful, inspiring and motivating messages on jigsaw pieces…

The #imapiece stitch in craft night at RISC Reading
The #imapiece stitch in craft night at RISC Reading
The #imapiece stitch in craft night at RISC Reading
The #imapiece stitch in craft night at RISC Reading
One of the wonderful things about having a stitch-in in such a public place was, not only the conversations we had amongst ourselves, but also being able to talk about the project to other people. You don’t have to attend an event like this one to get involved  – you can still do it from the comfort of your own home – just have a look at all the details here.

A huge and massive thank you to everyone that came along, it was brilliant to meet you all and thank you for making me feel a part of my new local craft community. I really myself and hope you did too. It shows that we can all make a difference.

The #imapiece stitch in craft night at RISC Reading

(I’m linking my first stitch-in to Lakota’s Ta Dah Tuesday. Because it does make me feel kind of ‘Ta Dah!)

I’m a piece: The Craftivist Jigsaw Project Launch

On 16th October 2012, members of the craft community from all over the country descended on glamourous surroundings of Mary Portas’s Living & Giving charity shop in London’s Primrose Hill to stitch together. But this wasn’t your average cupcake-fuelled craft evening – it was the launch of the Craftivist Collective’s and Save the Children’s Craftivist Jigsaw project – more commonly known in these social media savvy times as ‘I’m a piece’ or #imapiece.

embroiderers at work

Hard at work in the Living & Giving Shop: Photo courtesy of the Craftivist Collective/ Save the Children

Launched on World Food Day and the focal point of the project being next year’s G8 meeting, the aim is for people to make three jigsaw pieces, stitched with provocative but encouraging messages to remind people that we all have a role to play in tackling inequalities across the world:

  • One of the pieces will go towards creating an art installation to raise awareness that we all have a role to play and show that the craft community wants the Government to use its power and influence as host of the 2013 G8 to tackle injustice. The last time the G8 was hosted in the UK, the public responded with the Make Poverty History campaign. So this could be a big opportunity to make historical change.
  • The second piece is for you to keep as a reminder to be part of the solution – a reminder that can all do our bit in so many ways – from buying local and reducing our carbon footprint, to raising awareness and talking to our MPs about important issues like food prices and biofuels.
  • The third piece is to give to your MP to ask them to be the positive change they wish to see in the world.
Cakes and embroidery

One of my finished jigsaw pieces at the project launch: Photo courtesy of the Craftivist Collective/ Save the Children

The philosophy of the Craftivist Collective is that we can all change the world stitch by stitch and this project aims to show that we are all connected and our actions make a difference, whether that be through what we decide to buy, vote for, how we treat people etc. There is no one solution to the problem of injustice but the Craftivist Collective strongly believe we can all play a part in a movement for change.

fabric jigsaw pieces say 'We are all part of the solution'

‘We are all part of the solution’: Photo courtesy of the Craftvist Collective/ Save the Children

I’m an unabashed fan of the work of the Craftivist Collective and wear my ‘Craftivist’ badge with great pride, but this project has got me really excited. Firstly I get really enthused about mass-particiaptory pieces of crafted art work – I have written about Desconocida Unkown Ukjent, but I also love ‘In a war someone has to die‘ – I think a group (however it is organised) creating something together is beautiful and empowering. So I am looking forward to seeing the completed created for the G8.

But I also really love this project because it tackles the apathy that we can all often feel (*holds up hand* I know I do). It provides a quiet but thoughtful reminder that everyone has a part to play is dealing with issues such as poverty or malnutrition – they are not just things that happen in other countries – and that we are all part of creating a solution. Despite currently studying poverty and development issues, I often need reminding that I can also do more in my ‘everyday’ life to be a better global citizen, to think about the wider consequence of my choices. Sitting down, stitching, creating gives me a chance to reflect on that. And I truly believe that when other people see these beautiful unobtrusive but strong jigsaw pieces, they might find some inspiration, they might find something in them that they hadn’t previously considered and might start thinking about how they can make their own change, in their own way. Positive and powerful. That’s why I’m proud to say that #imapiece.

embroidery that says #imapiece

#imapiece: Photo courtesy of the Craftivist Collective/ Save the Children

You can read more about how you can become a piece in solving this puzzle on its dedicated website and also see loads of information and vlogs on the Craftivist Collective site.