Princes Trust Upcycle Project – partnership and empowerment in action

Over the last two weeks, an amazing group of young people have partnered with Mustard Tree to produce a fantastic set of up-cycled pieces for use in our newly refurbished Oldham Road building – due to open in the spring!

The Princes trust are a fantastic charity that help young people to get into education or further training for employment- empowering them to create life-changing opportunities. Eight young people from all over Greater Manchester worked on the project, with two fantastic leaders volunteering from the local fire service, Ash and Hannah. The group planned the project, raised funds and budgeted for their resources, and we were honoured they chose us as a partner charity to work with and make use of our space. They worked on the pieces almost every day and were so engaged with the issues and environment we work with. Our Creative Programs Coordinator Anoushka said ‘I was so impressed with how they carried themselves and grew in confidence every day as they learnt new skills. Even if they had never sewed a stitch or worked with fabric before, every single one of them threw themselves in and were so eager to learn. They were an absolute dream to be around, so self-motivated and polite, and I really hope they enjoyed themselves as much as we enjoyed having them.’

Every piece of fabric used was from things donated in our shop, so things that would have possibly gone to rubbish have been given a new lease of life. These young people and our volunteers will have a lasting impact on our building and their community. Their patchwork designs show the make up of Mustard Tree and our community – many different patterns coming together to make something much bigger than the sum of its parts. We want our new building to be a community building – an open welcoming space where everyone can find an opportunity and where someone has your back – like a home.

Last Friday we hosted a presentation of their final pieces they’d created, including patchwork fabric boards for desk dividers, lampshades and cushion covers. Each of the eight young people spoke about their opinions on homelessness and poverty in their area and their experiences of the project in-front of all our staff and volunteers. As one participant reflected, ‘as the project went on, each person found their role and gathered the confidence to own it. If you like stapling, you would staple. If you liked using the sewing machines you’d sew. Everyone really worked well together as a team to get it finished’. The group also presented us with a surprise £259 from their fundraising efforts!

It takes a lot of confidence to present to a room so we’d like to say well done and a BIG THANKYOU for all their hard work over the past two weeks. We really hope you enjoyed it and we can’t wait to have you back again in the future.