A Bird In The Hand: The Hastings Project

This week has been very calm and quiet in comparison to last week, where I was out being a busy bee every night after work. (Monday JasFit, Tuesday Sewing, Wednesday Cinema, Thursday So Sasha AND A Bird In The Hand Project, Friday PUB) Whew! It’s all been rather lovely and gentle and I’ve got this evening to catch up with my blogging (and Ripper Street on Amazon – OMG has anyone been watching it??)

With the worlds media looking to the terrible goings on in Calais in recent months, I’m incredibly proud to say that a group of very inspirational people in Hastings have started a new charity project to raise fund for refugee children in the most loveliest of ways – and it’s a project that’s just starting to spread its way across the country.

A Bird In The Hand project was started by the wonderful Jane Grimshaw – a very gifted sewer and crafter who used to run children’s toy sewing classes among other things (she even once sewed her own marketing leaflets out of material instead of trying to design her own graphics because a wise friend told her to stick with what she was good at – sewing!) The concept behind A Bird In The Hand Project is a simple one – to sew pretty birds that are small enough to be held in your hand. Bird making kits sold in white paper bags for a fiver have been flying (sorry) off the shelves at La La Rookh. The people of Hastings have been buying these kits like no ones business to take home for themselves or pass on to friends.

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All of the funds from the kits are given straight to the refugees in Calais who need it the most, but not only that, the children are then given a small bird to keep as a welcome present. Many birds have little messages of hope and love stitched onto one side, or written on paper labels and tied around the birds neck with string.

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The birds really are the easiest things to make in the world so you don’t need to be an expert sewer to make them. Seeing the birds sitting in rows ready to be taken to the refugees is quite moving, and you just hope they can bring a little bit of joy to a scared child who needs it. They look amazingly pretty too, with all their different colours and patterns.

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The Bird In The Hand Project also regularly hosts large community bird-making events, one of which I was lucky enough to attend on Thursday at The Observer Building with my good friend Lexi from Those Words She Wrote. Lexi being the ever brilliant human being that she is, has enthusiastically volunteered her services to the cause and runs the Twitter and Facebook pages for the project. The Observer Building, designed by architect Henry Ward, was built in the 1920’s and has only recently been refurbished after years of dis-use. It was my very first time visiting the building and I kept my Nana in mind as we walked through the doors, as she worked there for the Observer newspaper as a secretary before she got married. (She had my Dad when she was 25… that’s two years younger than me – holy crap).

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Fabric donations for the evening were made by various people, including The Fabric Godmother, and the work benches were full to bursting with Hastings people sitting together, working tirelessly, talking and making friends, sewing little birds:

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Jane and Anna from La La Rookh were both there to help anyone who needed it. Ladies, you did yourselves proud. Here’s me (looking rather tired from my busy week zzz) with the beautiful Anna in the middle and the brilliant Lexi on the right:

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Lexi and I were very lucky to meet Elda Abramson that evening, an Eastbourne Artist who volunteers in the Calais camps and holds special exhibitions in aid of the refugees. Many of her paintings were inspired by her visits to the camps, and she talked at length about her experiences there and how as a 71 year old English lady, she was looked after and respected by the refugees. She was keen to start similar events in Eastbourne, and took lots of bird kits with her to sell at her exhibition.

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If you want to get involved with A Bird In The Hand Project, you can follow the Facebook page here, and Lexi will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Safe Journey Little Bird

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