Working with needle and thread can be as creative and rewarding as it is healing and inclusive.

At a gallery in the small town of Crickhowell, Wales, Friday afternoons at a local sewing group have become synonymous with a wonderful creative energy alongside cups of tea and interesting conversations.

Funding the sessions through the Jean Williams legacy gift, close relative Jan Winstanley and friend Ann Notley are offering elderly residents the opportunity to share in the skill of hand embroidery.

CAF Charitable Legacies Sewing Circle case study
Jean Williams and Jan Winstanley


Speaking about the scheme which is hosted at the Oriel CRiC gallery, Jan said: “It’s made an enormous amount of difference to a small group of ladies who otherwise don’t get to do that much for themselves.

“There is sheer pleasure here for them. This is also a great way to honour my cousin’s legacy, as Jean loved to sew and always encouraged me to keep at it. It’s something that always brought us together.”

She told Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), who processed the legacy gift, that many of the ladies who attend the sewing circle are widowed and have joined the club as a means of ‘propping each other up’, adding: “It really is a tremendous boost to people’s mental wellbeing.

“It’s a place where everyone’s welcome and friendships are already being made.”

Monica Brown, Head of Charity Advisory and Programmes at CAF, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Jean’s family to bring this legacy to life. The idea behind this is so touching and personal, Jean is truly sending a message to us about supporting one another and how it’s the little things that can achieve so much.”

Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Brecon Beacons national park, Crickhowell is a small rural town that was recently named Best Place to Live in Wales by Sunday Times.

But despite this, some of its residents, particularly the elderly community, can feel isolated.

Jan added: “The rural isolation is very real. People don’t just drop by and not everyone has a four-wheel drive to get through the rural paths, making it very hard for the elderly community to be out and about. It can get very lonely.”  

Loneliness in Wales was measured for the first time in a survey published by the Welsh Government in 2016-17.

A consultation released in 2019 states that, at the time, 17% of the population, which would equate to around 440,000 people, were reporting being lonely in Wales.

The consultation helped produce a series of next steps, including giving people better access to information on local community groups, focussing on the importance of good community infrastructure (including the impact of good neighbourhood planning and housing design) as well as making community space, transport and digital infrastructure more accessible.


If you would like more information or to discuss leaving a CAF Charitable Legacy, please contact our Legacy team on 03000 123 108 or email us.  

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