Following on from my last post about volunteering, this post will focus on one of the organisations I volunteer with. I have chosen to write about this particular organisation as I am very passionate about what they do and think they deserve recognition for their hard work.
Butterfly Dawlish Community Art and Craft Centre C.I.C
At first glance Butterfly may look like a normal craft shop, selling handmade items and craft supplies, but it is much more than that. It is a not for profit organisation supporting local good causes and groups of people through a retail business. It is run as a C.I.C, which is a Community Interest Company. A C.I.C is designed for companies run as a social enterprise, with the primary focus of benefiting the local community. Meaning that it is not run by shareholders or owners out to make personal profit, but instead uses any money it makes to help others. The idea of Butterfly is that it is run by Dawlish, for Dawlish. With volunteers and crafters helping to run things.
Butterfly sell local crafts handmade by the people of Dawlish. They rent out shelf space to crafters and artists at extremely reasonable prices, to encourage locals to share their work and become part of Butterfly. The range of crafts they have on sale are very diverse. This includes:
• Knitted clothing and toys
• Clay Ornaments
• Decorations for the home
• Bags and Purses
• Preserves and Sauces
• Candles and Soap
• Wooden Gifts
They also have a few people who sell crafts in aid of charities such as Help for Heroes and local clubs such as the Dawlish Local History Group. The shop also sells art and craft materials to raise money for Butterfly and enable local crafters to get creative. This includes:
• Wool and Knitting supplies
• Sewing supplies such as needles, thread, zips, buttons, etc.
• Second hand fabric and bags of rag
• Things for card making such as blank cards, stickers, card toppers, back ground papers and stamps
• Jewellery making bits
• Art supplies such as paint, brushes, art pencils, etc.
• Books to inspire and instruct
Butterfly run regular one off workshops to teach crafts such as jewellery making, mosaicking, dress making and much more. They also have weekly groups such as In Stitches where anyone making something including a needle and thread or wool can join in, to help each other and socialise as they create. They also help more specific groups of people using art and craft as therapy and as a way to bring people together, like Craft for Carers. They also plan to start a regular home educated children’s group and other classes.
Butterfly was set up just over a year ago in July 2014. In that time they have already achieved things for the local community. They have helped three local residents set up a sewing business. They raised £100 for the Royal British Legion by selling poppy items made by the crafters. They have organised craft therapy for local care homes thanks to a grant of £500.
I have only been volunteering at Butterfly since June, but I have already grown to love the place and its people. I help with various things in the shop such as operating the till and serving customers, tidying and sorting stock, making cups of tea and coffee and anything else that they need me to do. I also attend the recent AGM and wrote a short press release about it for the local newspaper. I also am starting to get more involved online with the Facebook page and Website.
The other thing I love about the shop is that I am a crafter myself. I find working in the shop very inspirational and get lots of ideas of things to make. At the moment I do not sell my crafts, but make them for friends and family for special occasions. I do however hope that one day I can make enough of my crafts to have my own shelf space at Butterfly and to start selling my work.
I joined Butterfly about a month after I moved to Dawlish and everyone there has made me feel very welcome. It has helped me to make friends in the town and feel like part of a community right on my doorstep. I would like to thank everyone at Butterfly for being so supportive and kind.
If you would like to find out more about Butterfly Dawlish Community Art and Craft Centre C.I.C then check out the link to their website or Facebook page. The shop itself is located at 17 Queen Street, Dawlish, Devon. They always welcome donations of unwanted craft supplies to sell or use in store.
Try finding a C.I.C or social enterprise in your area to join and start benefiting local people, who in turn may just benefit you.