Threads: end-of-year report
Young people aiming high
- 73 girls from Pembury took part
- Two gained places at fashion college, two found high-end fashion sales jobs and six are excelling in GCSE textiles as a direct result of their involvement
- Participants made and sold £240 worth of goods at Gillett Square Market Children's Festival
- Participants reported increased feelings of self-esteem, confidence, ambition and curiosity
Threads was established in April 2011
Over 70 girls engaged with the project, developing skills in sewing, pattern cutting and design. Project workers and industry mentors provided them with training, support and insights into career pathways which increased the girls’ ambitions and revealed new talents.
As a direct result of participation in the project, four girls have secured places at fashion college, two found employment in high end fashion stores and six are on target to receive A*–C grades in GCSE Textiles.
A range of events and activities including presentations, trips to cultural spaces and access to industry events provided the girls with new experiences and broadened horizons. Highlights included:
- A showcase for parents, partners, staff and peers at the Nolias 11 gallery
Some girls had never spoken in public before, but were encouraged to do so by peers - as well as project workers. They are now much more confident in public speaking and feel enabled to voice their opinions at home and school.
- Producing, marketing and selling £240 of goods at a local market
This experience enabled girls to develop their communication and teamworking skills. Some girls said they were surprised by how easy they found selling — including some of the shyer girls who were usually very quiet in workshop sessions.
- Trips to the Brighton & Hove Museum, the Victoria and Albert museum and the Fashion and Textile Museum
As a result of organised trips, girls said that they felt more confident in travelling to other areas of London, using public transport, dealing with staff in public spaces, social etiquette and feeling that they have as much right to be in a museum or gallery as anybody else. Ten girls have since been inspired to research and arrange their own trips on behalf of the group and are enjoying this enhanced level of responsibility.
Threads at Hoxton St market
Threads also provides a safe space for information sharing and discussions around topics such as bullying, conflict, body image, sexism, relationships, personal safety, school exclusion, being fostered, betrayal, neglect and self-harm.
These discussions were said to be “helpful” and “informative” and many topics were initiated by the girls themselves. The open discussions helped the girls to think about how they could improve situations themselves and simply talking to each other relieved stress.
What is Threads?
Threads is a fashion design project for girls aged 10–18, offering the opportunity to gain practical skills in researching, designing and producing fashion garments, and encouraging confidence, independence and interpersonal skills.
The programme is delivered through workshops at the Pembury Learning Centre and is supplemented by a calendar of trips to museums and galleries, master classes and other activities off site.
Threads is funded by Children in Need
Why is Threads needed?
Many of the girls who participate in Threads experience low self-esteem, isolation and negative stereotyping, leading some to underachieve at school, develop mental health problems or engage in risky behaviour or substance misuse.
They are afraid of gangs and violence, and experience sexual harassment on the street, especially by groups of boys intimidating them. Not surprisingly, therefore, many girls say they spend too much time in their homes, and don’t get to go anywhere or see anything beyond the estate and their schools.
Sessions take place every week
Fifteen-year-old T had been in foster care for 12 months and was referred to Threads by social services. She had a complex range of difficulties including challenging behaviour, abusive links with male gang members, a disruptive home life and negative relationships with girls.
She attended weekly Threads sessions over a period of nine months. The all-female group helped T feel less pressured to compete for male attention and more relaxed as part of a group where she learned that other people's needs are as important as her own.
T participated in the market activity; making and selling stock, conducting research and developing design ideas. Although she was disruptive, the group accepted her, and many of the other girls learned from her harsh experiences.
Throughout the course, we saw changes in T’s attitude and views as she became more polite, less aggressive and more relaxed. She is now running sports workshops with younger children as a volunteer and is happy and healthy.
She will soon receive an Open College Network qualification in fashion design for her portfolio and we will continue to keep in touch, to let her know she is always welcome at Threads.
A recent Threads photoshoot
For more information about Threads email Sharon Barbour, Young People's Services Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support our work
If you would like to contribute to Threads, or you know an individual or company who could, please contact our Fundraising Team, send us a message via the form below, or make a donation quoting “Threads” as a reference.