Making Something out of Nothing
Sandy Simm - UK
This will be my fourth year with the Sew Powerful Team and what a team it was and is becoming. I loved the idea of the charity as it was not asking for money, which I didn't have, it only asked for time, which I had lots of!
Having just lost my house, my mum and a few years before my dad, I was not in a particularly good place. I have been a seamstress all my life. From the age of 10, making long gowns for my mum, as each Saturday night mummy and daddy went out dancing. They loved it. Even our holidays had to be in hotels where ballroom dancing was a must for every evening. She had to have at least 12 gowns – one for every night of our main two-week holiday!
I left school at 15 and went into the hosiery industry in and around the Midlands. I lived in the heart of the hosiery industry in a small town called Hinckley in Leicestershire (pronounced Lestershire). I worked all my life sewing. I had my own business eventually making children's wear with English smocking. I was in my late 40's. I did go to university first, (aged 37), for three years, loved it and finished at the age of forty with a Bsc Hons degree. Just to prove I had a brain I suppose. Otherwise, I was dubbed a ‘dumb blonde'.
Anyway, aged 58 and finding myself at a loss, feeling down and low, I had to sell my business. I desperately needed something – and I came across Sew Powerful. I can’t even remember how I came across it. I read about it and read about it some more and then contacted Jason. I was full of ideas and couldn’t believe I had found something where I could put my talents to some use without it costing me - as I was broke.
Jason was so enthusiastic and encouraged me. I wanted to work for them, to travel around the UK delivering the Sew Powerful word, doing demonstrations in schools and colleges and anywhere else I could go. Unfortunately, they couldn't go down this route as I would need expenses for fuel and overnight accommodation, but Jason put ideas my way. I became the UK coordinator – one of the first I believe. So, I got sewing – I made bags and got online trying to get the word out, asking people to get involved. I learned a lot during the first year. Taking the ups and downs, but people did start sending me bags. We did 100 that first year. I was thrilled. I called us Team GB for Sew Powerful and we were off the mark!
My spirits lifted, I set up for year 2. Team GB did 300. Then last year we did 450. I have a goal of reaching 600. Keep your eye on Team GB for Sew Powerful – we have wings!