Word soon spread around Tasmania’s West Ulverstone Primary School last year that a fun craft class was on after school and it kicked off with a scrumptious afternoon tea. But the biggest appeal for the students was the chance to create something with their parent, grandparent or carer.
New Mornings, a mental health service, partnered with the school and the Ulverstone Neighbourhood House to run the Buttons and Bows Project craft classes that also became a great introduction to mindfulness.
Mothers, grandmothers and carers were invited to come with their daughters to the craft sessions that were held for several weeks in the second half of 2019. A highlight of the program was the Christmas craft making where students and carers made tree decorations, bonbons and Christmas gifts.
Wendy Cunningham, who helped run some of the sessions and is also a volunteer with New Mornings, said the Buttons and Bows Project, with funding from Highways and Byways, increased community capacity and connections through sharing of traditional crafts and life skills between three generations of women in the area.
Buttons and Bows was an extension of New Mornings’ SWIFT program, a family-focused trauma recovery program for families affected by family violence, child abuse and neglect who are living or attending school in West Ulverstone and surrounding areas. Skilled volunteers ran the sessions, which attracted children in the early primary years from vulnerable families.
“The craft sessions provided positive role models and helped extend everyone’s social networks through the sharing of creative and life skills. These experiences can increase resilience and build personal capacity,” Wendy said.
“The girls also experienced a great sense of achievement by making something with their parent or grandparent that was fun and stress-free in a very encouraging environment.”
Wendy is encouraged to hear that one of the mums who participated in Buttons and Bows is now looking for funding to continue the project.