Elizabeth Spring Third Sector Strategic Development
Elizabeth Spring                  Third Sector Strategic Development

       Sew Portobello          Creative Enterprise

Bespoke children's clothes, soft furnishings and fabric toys

Sew Portobello was a little social enterprise that I founded in 2013. While fundraising for a local community centre, I consulted residents nearby about what they wanted and learned that many older women were isolated and struggling financially. I wanted to create a space where women could meet up and make some money. I decided to build on the strong sewing skills many enjoyed, and to base the project in Portoebllo Market nearby.

To start up, I raised £55,000 from the local authority and rented a pretty studio shop in Portobello Green Arcade, Notting Hill. Then I recruited a small band of women to act as outreach workers and tutors.

We ran sewing and textiles clubs for all ages. Local older women also sold their own treasure troves of bric a brac and china, that complemented the 1930s to 1950s fabric designs we used. 

The rich heritage of sewing and embroidery in the diverse communities of North Kensington, was linked  by Sew Portobello into ways to make new friends and share skills. Soon people of all ages and backgrounds came along to join in.

The friendly welcoming amosphere drew in hundreds of participants and the support wome ngave one another became more important for most, than the opportunites to make some extra money. It showed there is a real human need for more connectivity in this busy central London spot.

Women also enjoyed sharing skills and making all sorts of fabric goods together. The lessons were full of laughter. The products were sold  in the shop and on sunnier days on Portobello market. 

As it developed, the project expanded to offer sewing classes, coffee mornings and family creative events in other community venues, bringing neighbours together for a laugh, a chat and an expert sewing lesson

Although initally designed as a two year programme, it continued for four years as students and tutors were so keen to keep coming along.

It was a lovely project!


Would you like some advice and support around the start up stages of your idea?

I can provide friendly help to clarify your aims, set up systems and raise seed funding. 

                        Do get in touch.

I have had 100% success to date with statutory funding applications across the children and families, community support and social care sectors. 

My handbook for carers, Moving on From Depression, quickly became one of Mind UK's best sellers. 

Fundraising News

"In the light of the current economic challenges they face I have introduced stepped charges for smaller charities & arts organisations. Please feel free to get in touch."  

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