Tadcrafters are a community group based in Tadcaster that get together to make all sorts of crafty things to give away to worthy causes, or to raise funds to keep the group going. They make a point of reusing and recycling as much as possible to create items which benefit lots of different types of people. 

Image of person using a sewing machine

The Tadcrafters group, was set up after the small Yorkshire town was devastated by floods and the collapse of its bridge in December Year 2015. Founder, Su Morgan, explained “Lots of residents turned up to help with the clear-up after the flood. I wanted to harness that enthusiasm in the community to keep people supporting the local traders. I thought that by getting a group of people together to make bunting it would keep the community spirit alive as well as cheer the place up a bit. The target was to decorate the streets in time for the Tour de Yorkshire which was coming through Tadcaster at the end of April 2016.”

The group managed to make hundreds of metres of bunting from old sheets and donated fabric which helped to celebrate the opening of the much needed temporary footbridge and the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations as well as the Tour de Yorkshire in 2016, but the “Bunting for Tadcaster” group didn’t want to stop! It became clear that they had developed a network of people who, in the process of helping others, had benefitted greatly themselves by sharing and learning new skills.  There were many suggestions of projects for charities and other worthy causes, and of course the community was still in need of support too, so they decided to continue and became “Tadcrafters”.

Su said “In an era where most things can be purchased cheaply it is often forgotten that the process of making an item by hand can be rewarding in itself.  Knitting, sewing and other crafts are effective mindfulness techniques and have proved to be very beneficial in tackling stress and depression. In addition to this, receiving a hand-made gift is so much more personal and appreciation boosts self-esteem.”

In addition to making lots of bunting, Tadcrafters work closely with “Days for Girls” who sew feminine hygiene kits and take them to girls and young women in developing countries so that they can attend school every day of the month. Parts of these kits are made from recycled flannelette sheets and shower curtains.  Another project uses odd ends of wool and scraps of fabric, ribbons etc to make twiddlemuffs.  These are helpful for people with dementia and have been given to care homes in the area. Some of the lanterns they helped to make for the bridge opening lantern parade used off cuts of coloured vinyl from sign writers.   “One of the next projects is to make hand-crafted bags which are used by hospices to return personal effects to grieving relatives. These will be made out of some gorgeous heavier weight fabric that we have been donated.

“We are really lucky to be supported by so many people and organisations who donate their time and unwanted materials. We are able to exist because of people’s generosity but also it is satisfying that we can make use of items that people no longer need. We have been given bags of end of lines haberdashery from Rose Trading in Scarthingwell, and offcuts of fabric from Vanilla Interiors in Tadcaster to name but two local companies that are supporting us”.

If you would like to join in, Tadcrafters meet at the Social Club in Church Street, Tadcaster.  Drop-in sessions are every second Tuesday of the month, from 10am until 5pm (or up to 8pm by prior arrangement). You don’t need to take anything with you, or in fact you don’t even need to knit, sew or craft, but they do ask for a voluntary donation of £1. There are usually lots of crafty things available to buy for a donation too. You can take a sewing machine, knitting needles or your own crafting project if you wish.

In 2016 Tadcrafters became a (not for profit) Community Interest Company aided by an SDC Community Engagement Forum grant and so were able to purchase equipment and materials to be able to help more people learn craft skills and support a wider range of charities and worthy causes.

In future Tadcrafters would like to expand their activities to support more people and start a scrap store to reuse and recycle items which would otherwise be thrown away by individuals and businesses.  To do this they would need significant support, for example from a large company which is community-orientated, similar to the backing given to the Betty’s/Taylors funded Cone Exchange in Harrogate.  If you know of such an amazing company please ask them to get in touch!

To contact them, donate items or find out what Tadcrafters are up to you can find more information on their website. You can also follow them on twitter or facebook.