Prior to March 2020 the Sewing Crow-Bees group did not exist and the ladies unknown to each other. Since then they have been responsible for raising in excess of £18,000 for charity.
The group’s story began when Maisie Jones was furloughed and started making masks to raise funds for NHS Charities Together. Alison Cousins (also furloughed) responded to Maisie’s initial post on Facebook and offered to help. Over the next few weeks requests for their masks rapidly gained momentum and impossible to manage without help. Thankfully, appeals for assistance were answered and gradually the Sewing Crow-Bees was formed. The 11 ladies – Karon Hodges, Jolie Banham, Claire Banham, Jackie Gibbons, Rita Barker, Sally Price, Jane Bridges, Debbie McDonald, Rita Turner, Maisie and Alison – all live in Crowborough.
Dusting off old machines, taking over dining tables and rooms with bundles of fabric and trails of thread and elastic. They’ve dealt with broken machines and elastic shortages, aching fingers and backs, street collection licensing, challenging requests, handled, washed, dried and cut hundreds of metres of second-hand fabrics, and much more.
Initially the orders were delivered or collection from boxes outside homes was arranged. When the distribution and admin for orders climbed to almost overwhelming levels, an appeal to local businesses to hold stocks resulted in a wonderful response and Guest’s Shoes and W E Cro were the first of several outlets in the town for Sewing Crow-Bees products in August.
In addition to masks, they now make mask bags, gel bottle bags, ear savers, gift and tote bags, bags for walking frames and twiddle mitts. They have responded to special requests like bags for primary school children to hang on the back of chairs to hold books and pencils.
Using donated fabric (kindly given by many in the Crowborough community) as much as possible, re-purposing duvet covers and sheeting and other items, the group has raised funds for:
• NHS Together Charity – over £1,500.
• Friends of Crowborough Hospital – their current charity and to date have raised over £14,400, with which the hospital is planning to purchase very special mattresses.
• The Royal British Legion, Poppy Appeal – over £2,000.
If you would like to help the group to reach their goal of £15,000 goal, visit virginmoneygiving.com and search for ‘Sewing Crow-Bees’.