Sewing2gether All Nations applied for one of our 'Together Again' microgrants to help with travel costs after the pandemic. Corinne Watt tells us about the Paisley-based group and how they spent the grant . . .

"Sewing2gether All Nations: Caring, Creating, Connecting is a grassroots community-based organisation for members of the refugee and asylum seeker community, primarily supporting women who wish to practise English and build new friendships.

We upcycle donated textiles into practical and decorative items for our homes and families. Many of the women and families who attend our sewing and creative workshops are travelling a significant distance in order to get support from our team, and continue the friendships they have built with other members. Combating isolation and loneliness and assisting our families to get to
groups and events then home again is essential.

We were delighted to be able to provide travel expenses in 2022, thanks to a grant from the St Nicholas PCT Fund, allowing us to launch our Travel Empowerment Programme. This was boosted by the 'Together Again' Microgrant from Creative Lives, which we used specifically to engage with some harder-to-reach families, isolated women with no English language skills, arranging to bring them into our base by taxi and begin building relationships.

The financial situation of those navigating the asylum system is precarious, and non-essential travel is unaffordable. But funding travel is only part of the process. We provide a step-by-step service to help each individual build a toolkit of skills they can use to allow them not only to attend our activities in Paisley but navigate the city and beyond. Our goal is to mentor the women in travelling until they can come to our activities independently and feel confident in doing so.

We also when possible pair up two or more members who live in close proximity. The rewards of our travel empowerment process are hard to measure. But we feel that by giving participants this independent experience, they can then share these skills with others in a similar position. The Travel Empowerment Programme will continue into 2023 with the support of Paths For All - Smarter Choices, Smarter Places, enabling us to bring more women together to participate in our creative workshops."