Upcycling group boosts hospice funds

Retired art teacher Liz Hillitt is putting her sewing and knitting skills to good use, making new clothes from old materials.

 She’s a member of a craft group of four volunteers who work together to upcycle garments using remnants, sheets and jumpers from the St Peter’s Hospice shop in Henleaze High Street.

Liz says: “We do it because we enjoy sewing and meeting up. I like to make things that have a purpose and if you can do that while having a gossip with your friends and a bit of a laugh, that’s great. It’s been a wellbeing thing for me as your brain goes into a flow state if you enjoy it.

“The first thing I encourage people to do when they get a garment is to take it apart and iron it. I’m inspired by the material and find it’s fun thinking up different ways of using things. Curtains or garments can be worth more made into other items – old cashmere jumpers can be broken up and made into fingerless gloves. Recent dresses we’ve made for the Henleaze shop have come from an M&S duvet cover, and we make hats and scrunchies out of oddments.”

 Sarah Scaplehorn manages the St Peter’s Hospice shop in Henleaze and is passionate about sustainability.

 “I started upcycling in 2015 when I was volunteering in the Westbury-on-Trym branch as being creative has always been a passion of mine,” says Sarah.

 “Upcycling led me to realise how much stock is actually thrown away and by doing this we can reduce the amount being sent on and help to create an alternative income stream for the hospice. 

“Here in Henleaze, we’ve become known for our upcycled items such as the cashmere wrist warmers and whenever we are approaching Autumn/Winter the demand seems to grow higher with each year as people request them for Christmas gifts.”

 Liz recommends the craft group as a completely flexible form of volunteering which you can work around other things during the day. The Henleaze craft group is full, but Liz believes that anyone could start one of their own or with a friend and make items for the St Peter’s Hospice shop near them. 

If you’d like to find out more, see: https://www.stpetershospice.org/support-us/volunteer/volunteer-in-our-shops/