Local crafters, Roberta and Dee from Hedge End, formed the Hedge End Community Face Covering Project during the Covid-19 pandemic and raised over £2,500 for Naomi House & Jacksplace, through crafting face masks and selling them in return for donations. They then decided to join ranks and put together a stall to sell their crafts from their homes in return for donations to Naomi House & Jacksplace, as part of the brand new crafting event, Hedge End and Botley Craft Crawl.
We spoke to Dee and Roberta about their inspiring fundraising initiative.
“As keen sewers we both, separately, were making face coverings for friends and families and always had some left over. So, Roberta decided to start up the community box with the view of raising some money for charity. The initial idea came from when she saw an article on the local news station about a lady who has a community face mask tree. Not having a tree, she thought a community face covering box was just as good and it all started from there.
“What started out small quickly grew, as the need for face coverings became even more important. Roberta put out a request for some help on Facebook and our friendship and my involvement grew from there.
“Roberta is a Clinical Scientist specialising in Audiology at the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service and regularly comes across some of the children that go to Naomi House at the hospital. We also are both aware of the amazing work the charity does from local intelligence and so decided to support Naomi House & Jacksplace.
“The knowledge that we are helping others is really important to us. The old cliché ‘it is better to give than to receive’ has never been as true, and it’s a privilege that we are able to improve the lives of such special children in our very small way. We also appreciate the challenging environment charities are currently working in.
We get a warm feeling knowing that the money we raise is having an impact on the lives of such special children and their families.
“The aim of what Robert and I do is to reuse, recycle and remake from fabric donated or otherwise averted from landfill. A call out to the local community via Facebook for donations of fabric was quickly responded to and we quickly got working on reusing and remaking handmade items which could be used for masks. The community has been amazing in donating all sorts of fabrics.
“As the government guidelines became even stricter on the use of face coverings, people realised one mask was not enough, so we developed a large group of repeat customers and supporters who sign-posted people in our direction when a mask was needed. Locally we have a reputation, if you want a mask go to 38 Coulsdon Road! I think Roberta stopped counting the number of masks we made after 1,000 and the demand still remains strong today!
The initial aim was to raise £100 for the hospices. We never expected to raise a whopping £2,500 - so we are truly proud of that. The fact that all the money goes to charity is a contributing factor of the success of the project.
“When the opportunity to join the Craft Crawl came along and we could make even more crafts and more money for Naomi House, we jumped at the chance!
“We read about the Craft Crawl on Facebook and decided to participate. Vicki, from North Family Arts, sent out a message to ask if crafters from the area would be interested in participating in a socially distant controlled event. This time of year is traditionally when craft fairs are most active, but in light of the current environment, this is not an option due to the restrictions, so the idea of each crafter operating from their own address made sense, hence the Craft Crawl idea. A map of the crafters’ homes has been designed and the first ‘pop up’ event successfully went ahead on 26th September. The next events will be happening on 31 October, 28th November and 12th December.
“We jumped at the opportunity to get involved, as it will allow us to raise more money for Naomi House & Jacksplace and also gives us the chance to expand our range of handmade goods to our growing loyal customer base. What started out as a few extra items quickly turned in to over 40 items for sale!
“We will be selling a range of handcrafted gifts made from fabric, ranging from household goods, hair and beauty, bags, baby items and fun gifts for all the family (even the dog!) We are also offering a customised memory bear and quilt service. All proceeds from our stall will go to Naomi House. There are a total of 39 crafters across 36 sites participating in the crawl, of which their products range from pebble art, books, wax melts, textile art, woodcraft and cards and frames, to floristry jewellery, ceramics, cakes, handmade toys and woodwork, so there is definitely something for everyone.
“The event has been carefully planned so that it is Covid-safe. Crafters operate from 36 different addresses across the village therefore allowing for social distancing. No more than six people are allowed near a stall at any one time and this is being carefully policed by stall holders. Masks are required to be worn and hand sanitizing facilities are available.
“We hope many people will visit our stall over the next few pop up events, to shop from our range of beautiful crafts and to help us support Naomi House & Jacksplace.
“We would like to give a huge thank you to the wonderful people in our community who have helped and supported us since June, either from donations, making things, buying our masks or shopping at our stall. A special thanks also goes out to Wendy Heap and Nicola & Carl Sheppard who have also been a valued part of our masks team from the very beginning. Without all of these people, the initiative would not have been a success and we would not have been able to raise so much money, so thank you."
If you’re local to Southampton and love local craft fairs, why not join one of the next Craft Crawls on on 31st October, 28th November or 12th December?! You can download each month's Craft Crawl map on the Hedge End Community Face Covering Project Facebook page here.
A huge thank you to Roberta, Dee and everyone involved for your incredible support. We are in awe of your commitment and dedication to our cause, so thank you very much.