A woman instructs someone else, showing her how to sew A woman instructs someone else, showing her how to sew

Volunteer Interview: Sewing Instructor Tania

For International Volunteer Day 2023, we're celebrating the incredible work of some of Medaille's Volunteers. First up is Tania, who volunteers with one of our safe houses, teaching our Service Users to sew and create their own garments.

"I love sewing and I heard that Medaille were looking for someone to help service users to sew. I’m not an expert sewist, as my day job is a nurse. I offer one regular morning a week to the service users in one of Medaille's safehouses. 

"Some of [the Service Users] may be completely new to sewing and using sewing machines. It doesn’t take them long to learn a new skill, starting with something simple like a lavender bag. Then progressing onto a useful tote bag. I love the look on their faces as it looks all wrong sewn inside out,  then gets turned the right way and is transformed into something amazing that they have made themselves. Once a young service user described the process of unpicking a mistake and rectifying it, and it was a lightbulb moment for her: she realised she had made mistakes in her life and was being supported to make something new and meaningful. 

"Other service users bring along items of clothing, maybe an item bought from a charity shop, that they want altering. It’s quite empowering for them to adapt or transform garments to fit better. 

"Some may come with past experience of sewing and for them it’s comforting to bring back a skill which, like riding a bike, you pick up remember what to do. 

"Recently I’ve facilitated the sewing of cushion covers and bunting to decorate one of the communal living rooms. This brought a fresh look to the room but most importantly helped them to feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement. 

"I find it easier working with just one or two service users at a time, due to limited space and them needing supervision. During this time I’ve seen their confidence and language skills grow as we work along side together. 

"Altogether it’s an enjoyable time of facilitation, using a hobby/skill. And a most rewarding effort for giving a couple of hours a week."

Thank you so much Tania, for the wonderful impact your Volunteering work has had at Medaille! 

We're always looking for new Wellness Volunteers to help survivors of Modern Slavery. If you'd like to get involved like Tania and make a real difference to people's lives, see our vacancies page for opportunities in your area.

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