The Royal Exchange Theatre ran monthly craft sessions focusing on creativity and wellbeing, delivered by artist Samantha Edwards as part of a long-term partnership with Jigsaw Homes, the project went on to exceed any of our expectations.

The Royal Exchange Theatre (RET) and Jigsaw Homes have worked in partnership for many years in Tameside. Their most recent 4-year partnership culminated in the development of a weekly Craft Café in Dukinfield at the Hub. Over the past year, artist Sam Edwards ran drop-in craft activities alongside a brew and a sandwich for residents in the area. The group have transformed their community hub in Dukinfield into a vibrant centre with artwork covering every wall.

They’ve enjoyed shows at the Royal Exchange Theatre, learnt a range of crafting skills and formed friendships over tea, coffee and cakes. They’ve now established themselves as a Resident’s Group called the People’s Community Dukinfield with their own constitution aiming to reduce isolation and provide opportunities and wellbeing activities for the community.

“…the Craft Café is such a refreshing space. You can just sit and listen to people talking. You can get advice. It’s good for your mental health. And I can get away from my role as a carer and a mum. At the Craft Café I’m not just my mum and dad’s daughter, my kid’s mum, my dad’s carer. I’m me.”

“The Craft Café is not just giving me somewhere to go and someone to talk to, it’s widened my whole scope. I look at things and find things interesting that I didn’t before.”

“The Craft Café gives me something to look forward to. I enjoy it more than ever now. If I couldn’t come here, I don’t know where I’d be. I love it. It’s been the best thing in my life, most definitely. You got the art, the cook group, and the garden when it’s nice. It’s been a lifesaver for me.”

The group created a wonderful cookbook filled with their own recipes, you can buy it for their fundraiser from here.