As part of our involvement in the Lewisham Borough of Sanctuary movement, we recently welcomed our first pottery painters - a young family who recently arrived to the UK. If you haven't heard of this initiative before, let me explain.
When people arrive to the UK as a refugee or asylum seeker, adults are not permitted to work for months, sometimes up to one year. As you can imagine this can be disheartening, demoralising and frustrating. This is where businesses like mine have stepped in to offer opportunities to provide a creative outlet to those who find themselves in this limbo and times of uncertainty. I cannot stress how important it is for communities and business owners to come together to create opportunities for friendship and solidarity between local people and those seeking sanctuary. The reason I feel so strongly? I came to the UK with my mum when I was very young, just as this family did, however, my mum was able to work straight away and start our new life here. It's clear that there are many more barriers for anyone who wants to do the same now, and through the fate of circumstances of that time our experience and the opportunities we had were very different.
One of the family members who took part in our session painted the plate that we have featured. On the back was a sweet message about being thankful, Spring and new beginnings, which the blossom tree design perfectly represents. The family only spoke Spanish, which luckily I am fluent in, so it was lovely to strike up conversations and speak about their hopes and dreams. They are currently staying in a hotel room nearby - mum, dad and two small boys and mum was very interested in taking part in more pottery painting sessions. This got me thinking that it would be great if our customers could get involved and enable others who may not otherwise have the opportunity to take part in a creative session. Pottery painting is not only great for learning new skills, but more importantly, it creates opportunities for connection, wellbeing and friendships, which for anyone settling into a new country, is of immense importance. The beauty of creativity is that it holds no barriers - anyone can get involved!
So with this in mind, we will soon be rolling out a subscription service, where half the proceeds from subscription sales will go towards funding pottery painting sessions for individuals and families who are from low income, migrant or marginalised backgrounds. We are calling this a 'subscribe to donate' service and we are really excited to get as many of our customers involved.
So what will be included in the subscription I hear you ask. Each month a box will go out to you filled with a selection of beautifully curated products, including one exclusive, handmade pottery item made at our studio - it could be a small cup, trinket dish, candle holder etc. You will also receive other goodies such as a candle, lotion or book (these are examples). Each box will be a surprise but we promise it will be thoughtfully put together and synonymous with what you can expect from our Pottery Studio and The Find Store. You will be able to choose from a 3 month, 6 month or 12 month subscription with three different price points, which would make wonderful gifts for you or a loved one. Who doesn't love a subscription? Bonus is that you will be contributing to this very worthy cause.
Our new subscription service is still in the development stage but our pottery items will be in production in the next few days. We are really keen to hear your thoughts on this, so we welcome any comments or suggestions.
How beautiful is this plate? Blossom trees bloom in Spring, new beginnings are often associated with Spring, which was the idea and concept behind the design. It perfectly encapsulates the importance of welcoming people seeking sanctuary into our community.