Items made by women to be sold at Bradford pop-up shop Create

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Surji Cair, community development manager at the Millan Centre Surji Cair, community development manager at the Millan Centre

Soft furnishings created from old scraps of material by Asian women, as part of a scheme to get them into employment, have gone on sale at a Bradford pop-up shop.

Last year the Milan Centre in Manningham, which runs social, educational and health activities for women, appealed for unwanted saris for a project to turn the material into other clothes and soft furnishings.

The centre received £9,800 of Lottery Awards for All funding for the scheme, equipping women with new skills and helping them start work or return to employment after raising families.

Workshops have helped develop their skills in sewing, designing and marketing, and now their creations are on sale at pop-up shop Create in Market Street, Bradford, which is run by the Carers’ Resource.

Surji Cair, community development manager at the Millan Centre, said: “They have made things like cushions, mobile phone cases, notebook holders, bags and children’s dresses. As well as designing and sewing, they learned about pricing and marketing.

“When the group started there was a range of sewing skills and those who had sewn before mainly had experience of dressmaking for themselves or their children.

“In the workshops the women were encouraged to think about what would sell, how they can adapt their designs and use fabric combinations to appeal to customers. They also looked at how to price items, building in their own time, material costs and overheads.

“Changes to the benefits system mean more women are seeking work, but many have spent a long time at home bringing up their family and don't know where to start. This scheme helps them build confidence and skills that could help them find work.”

The centre has appealed again for unwanted saris.

Surji said: “Saris are beautiful, but often only worn once or for special occasions. Rather than just have them hanging up we would like to put them to good use.”

For more information, call (01274) 480691.

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