Volunteer Support

A conversation at a Friday morning coffee group prompted a Cessnock Linker to develop new ways to link single mothers and enable them to support one another.

During the session a Cessnock-based linker, who regularly attends, became involved in a discussion with the mums about starting up a craft group. They agreed it might be a good way for them to interact with other mums, most of who are single-parents.

The Linker and the local Salvation Army Captain continued the discussion. They could see how, knowing that social isolation is a significant for many young mums in their community, the craft group would encourage young mums to come together, potentially learn from one another and share experiences, and take time out from their ‘mum’ duties.

Ideas were thrown around as to what resources were available, and what craft activities they might explore.
The team decided to start with mosaics, and the Salvation Army Captain offered to bring the necessary items while  Ability Links NSW would supply the morning tea.

Flyers were made up and the first craft morning was scheduled. 

Eight mum’s attended the first craft morning along with their three children.  The children were looked after by a young girl who had been suspended from school - this was a meaningful experience for her, prompting a conversation with the young girl’s school and the concept of using like opportunities as a reward for good behaviour.

The craft morning went well, the mums clearly enjoying a morning of coffee, biscuits and mosaics. 
The first project was to create a pattern by smashing tiles to gather smaller pieces to make the pattern, and the mother’s gleefully took to the task of getting outside with a hammer, with some tiles in a pillowcase.
“They were loving smashing the tiles,’’ the linker said. “Some said they found this very therapeutic.”

Lots of different patterns were made using all different shapes, sizes and colours.  The tiles were grouted at a second session.  

Roma said she enjoyed the opportunity to socialise with other mums like her.
“I felt supported, in a safe and caring environment, and received information to help me and my family through helath issues," she said. While she enjoyed craft, she found she couldn't manage it at home with her little ones around. At the craft group, I also have help to do various craft projects when I wouldn’t know how to compelte them on my own.. I feel happier having na outlet and new friends from craft group.”

Another mum, Judy, told the Linker that she enjoyed the craft group because gave her “something to do”.
“It gets me out and chatting,” she said.

The craft morning has been a hit and the mums have requested that the craft be held weekly.