Throughout its long history, sewing or stitching has been a formative experience in the lives of millions of women across many cultures. It is an activity that binds us all together no matter what language we speak or which country we are from.
The NIW for Brighton & Hove, open to anyone who identifies as an ‘international woman’ runs sewing groups for its members. The NIW is a platform for women from diverse cultures and marginalised backgrounds to meet and share experiences.
The network’s mission is to provide a ‘safe space’ for women and a sense of belonging by providing education, training and the opportunity to participate in the wider community.
Before Covid happened the network held meetings in the Jubilee library in the centre of the city. But last year they were forced to adapt. Not to be defeated they went online, organising open zoom meet-ups instead.
During these meetings women develop skills, inspire each other with their ideas and creations and work on both personal items and joint community projects. Our funding ensures that the network now has enough resources such as threads and materials for up to 30 women across the city to continue to take part in these community meet-ups at a time when social isolation could be affecting women more than ever before.
Linda Beanlands, Chair and Co Founder of the NIW says that “Sewing is a language in itself and new materials and threads enable the voices of our women to be heard as well as providing much needed resources to make pretty clothes and decorate their homes”
The NIW’s first project was a tapestry for International’s Women’s Day in 2018. For four months the network’s women gathered together to make their own squares which they stitched together showing the diversity and skills of the many international women living in Brighton and Hove. The NIW also runs a range of projects from cooking classes to health and wellbeing sessions.
We are so fortunate to have begun this relationship with this amazing network of passionate and inspiring women and are looking forward to the day when we can go along to one of their meet-ups and try our hand at a sewing or cooking class among new friends.