This case study looks at one of the recipients of the GM Mental Wellbeing Grants programme, funded by Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership and delivered by GMCVO
The grant aims to support people from communities of identity or experience, based in Greater Manchester, that may struggle to achieve higher levels of mental wellbeing. Kerry’s Corner CIC, received a grant in 2022 as part of year 3 of the programme.
Who are they?
Kerry’s Corner was established in March 2022 by Director, Kerry (aka Kez). After volunteering at her local community centre in Leigh setting up a library, Kerry went on to host digital skills classes and ‘knit and natter’ drop ins at the centre. She soon discovered there was an appetite for connection and learning within the community and decided to set up her own CIC offering activities and support based at the community centre.
What do they do?
The CIC run digital literacy classes and craft sessions and provide support with online tasks such as form filling. Classes and sessions are mainly attended by socially isolated older people, carers, people with long term physical or mental health conditions (including Neurodiverse conditions), and people who are unemployed or on a low income.
They also sell products made by Kerry and a team of volunteers, the profits of which help support their work.
As someone who has experienced poor mental health and a late diagnosis of ADHD and Autism, Kerry creates a warm and relaxed environment where everyone is welcome. She adapts her classes/sessions to help everyone attend.
Everyone is welcome, come along learn some sewing and chat!
What’s their project?
Kerry’s Corner received a £750 micro grant to pay for four sewing machines, materials and equipment to help set up accessible beginners sewing courses. Groups were kept small and courses lasted for 5-6 weeks which gave people the opportunity to get to know one another and open up about their difficulties in a safe space. Kerry is clear that the grant was never intended to run a one off project, but to be the foundation of a longer term project.
What impact has the project had?
Kerry has been blown away by the response to her courses which booked up very quickly by people who have gone on to grow attached to one another and make strong bonds. High demand for her classes has meant that she has been able to establish a level 2 sewing programme as well as drop in sessions to enable people to keep in touch. Kerry is proud of what the micro grant has kick started and the difference it has made – the sewing classes now account for the majority of what the CIC does.
It’s great here. I learn a lot and meet a lot of new friends. I have difficulties with my hands but I’m proud of myself. A good way to meet friends and you’re not lonely, if I have a form Kez will help. For second language it’s hard and if someone gives you a hand it’s helpful. Sewing course attendee
One attendee who was off work sick and struggling with her mental health has since given up her job and set up her own CIC offering crochet, loom making and card making classes. She hopes to inspire others as Kerry did her.
Honestly I was at a real low when I first came to you. And it really helped my mental health. I want to do what you did for me