ANGELA Malcolm has brought crafting around the kitchen table into the 21st century.

As a young girl aged, attending the local primary school in Silsden, Angela recalls a time when families spent time together quite often living in the same street or at least a stone's throw away.

Her route home from school would take her to her aunt's house; then on to her grandmother's and if both were out she would very often find them sat around the kitchen table at her own home crafting together with her mum.

Those were the days Angela fondly recalls, and ones which she is now resurrecting for the pleasure of crafters who have turned their pastimes into production.

In November Been Busy, the shop Angela and her husband Neil, set up in Kirkgate, Silsden, celebrates its first anniversary.

The aim was to provide a platform for crafters, like her, to showcase and sell their creations. Since it opened the couple have turned the business into a Community Interest Company - it was never their intention to make money from it, just to enable those who toil away the hours crafting to get something back for their efforts.

'Get Busy' is another initiative the couple are in the throes of introducing within the shop - the idea being to hold sessions where people can come in and learn how to create things and pass on their expertise.

Says Angela: "It is coming to learn how to do things with the idea of selling it in the shop and also learning new skills and having social experiences and things like that."

For Angela it is a reminder of the time she spent crafting as a young girl with her family and it is also the reason why she was keen to re-create a kitchen rather than a classroom environment.

"Two of my aunts were prolific knitters and crocheters. My mum was a knitter, I remember her knitting baby clothes, it was always in the family."

Angela recalls her Auntie Phyllis was a flag bearer for the Royal British Legion, prompting the family to get involved with fundraising through their crafting skills.

"Winter evenings at Grandma's we would sit around the kitchen table making things to sell at the British Legion Christmas fair and that is the memory of crafting for me," says Angela who spent 16 years teaching design technology at schools around Bradford, Keighley and Skipton.

She left teaching to become a carer to her late mum, Phyllis, who died four years ago. Through caring for her mum Angela was introduced to Carers Resource, Bradford’s integrated carers’ service which supports unpaid carers across the district who look after a loved one.

She was involved when Carers Resource set up a pop-up shop in Bradford as part of its CReate programme helping carers who work, train or study and those seeking employment or new skills.

Angela says as well as giving them a platform to produce, showcase and sell their lovely creations, she also discovered how crafting helped carers to relax and it triggered her idea for the shop.

“The experience of taking part in the pop-up shop was very powerful as I saw the impact it had on people when they were able to achieve something for themselves – they were making things themselves and selling them," she says.

“I had such a positive response to my work, and as well as selling it, I also earned some commissions.

“It really helped boost my confidence and so many of the people who were involved have gone on to do other things because of it – it’s been a wonderful catalyst.”

Experiencing the success of showcasing their creations also gave Angela the impetus to provide a platform for others.

"It was something that needed to be out there for carers," says Angela.

After sharing the idea with fellow crafters, she decided to take on the lease in a property she saw for rent in Silsden.

Called Been Busy "because crafters have been busy", it opened on November 20 last year.

Through some extra support from CReate at Carers’ Resource Angela was gained funding through local business support agencies provide her with four sewing machines and access to a mentor to help her develop her ideas.

Candy Squire-Watt, CReate Facilitator at Carers’ Resource, said: “Angela is an inspiration to others and she has achieved so much through her enthusiasm and determination.

“Caring can be an isolating and overwhelming experience, and many find their caring responsibilities dominate their life and this can have a big knock-on effect for their own confidence and self esteem.

“Through CReate and our workshops, groups and sessions we help to re-build that confidence and point carers in the right direction so they can go on to realise their full potential.”

Caring is the common thread which binds Angela's commitments. As well as running the shop with Neil, they also provide short breaks, through Bradford Council, for children and young adults aged 11 to 18 with additional needs, mainly autism.

They are currently waiting to learn whether their lottery bid has been successful. This will enable them to set up free crafting for carers sessions.

"It is a family thing, getting round the kitchen table and all of that and that is what I wanted to bring to the shop - that kind of learning environment," says Angela.