Most people don’t think about starting up a Community Interest Company in the middle of a pandemic. We’re a little different, this has been something we’ve been thinking about for a long time. We believe that in getting the foundations in place now that our ideas will be ready to start helping people when they need it most when Covid restrictions are eased.
We are Claire, Janice and Tracey, 3 indie yarn dyers from Northern Ireland. We have a passion for yarn and pretty much everything to do with it. We have also all had our own lived experiences of fluctuating mental health and we know how much it has helped us to be part of the yarn community, and how much our yarn based hobbies give us a focus and a form of distraction when we need it most. It has also provided us with employment and many friendships. We want to bring those experiences to others. During the pandemic social isolation has become a big thing and we want to provide safe and welcoming spaces where people can come together and learn new skills and share existing ones.
We would also like to support emerging fibre artists with access to equipment and mentoring and hope to help others explore the possibilities of self employment within the yarn industry.
As a team we all have experience of operating small businesses. Claire has a degree in Law and 13 years experience working in the voluntary sector supporting people with a wide range of disabilities to access and sustain employment using reasonable adjustments. Janice has a background in financial administration as a team leader and technical overseer. Tracey has a background in accountancy.
Our minds are whirling with ideas of where this could go. We plan to host retreats to help people take time out with like minded people to learn new skills, yarn crawls to support local yarn shops, a website offering a mix of commercial and hand dyed yarns and yarn hobby supplies, workshops on a range of yarn based hobbies, apprenticeships and potential employment opportunities for marginalised groups, hosting regular craft groups to alleviate social isolation, online tutorials, joining forces with local therapists to offer supports on improving mental health post Covid, the list is endless!
For complete transparency, if this idea is going to work we need to eventually be paid employees of the CIC. We have already invested a lot of our time freely to getting the ideas to this point, we have registered as a CIC and we are prepared to commit to its success. We won’t be able to do any of it though without start up costs. We need to consider premises and locations we can work from, setting up the online side of things, setting up our admin and systems, deposits for retreats and paying tutors and associated costs. We are fully committed to being transparent about how any funds we raise are spent.
Let’s do this!