Charity uses fashion to boost the confidence and skills of disabled people

March 7, 2017

Adults living with disabilities in the Folkestone area will now have greater opportunities to learn valuable dressmaking skills, thanks to a grant from the Care UK wellbeing foundation to the charity Activities, Respite, Rehabilitation Care Centres (ARRCC).

ARRCC has received a £2,000 grant to buy equipment including a specialist disabled-access sewing machine. It’ll be used to help around 50 participants create individual and easy to wear fashion that suits their lifestyles.

The charity will run 25 workshops over a five-month period.

Trish Bishop, deputy CEO of ARRCC, said: “We are very grateful to Care UK for this generous grant. We will run a series of workshops at our Tontine Street centre, where participants can design and create comfortable and expressive outfits that convey who they are.

“This will culminate in a fashion show that will be open to the public so that as many people as possible will see the talent and creativity. Often people have pre-conceived ideas about the abilities of people living with disabilities and there are common stereotypes about how they dress. We want to bust those myths wide open.”

The charity will run 25 workshops over a five-month period. Sandra Janman, volunteer and member coordinator, said: “Our members tell us they intensely dislike shopping for fashionable clothes because, although they like being well dressed, the market does not take them into consideration.

“One person told us they struggle with changing rooms that are too small and they find putting on fashionable clothes too difficult – as a result they end up wearing baggy jumpers and fleeces. Others have talked about their feelings of disappointment at not seeing disabled people in adverts and magazines.”

Angi Knight, Care UK’s regional director for Kent, presented the grant on behalf of the foundation. She said: “We were delighted to be able to support this excellent initiative. We were particularly impressed with the idea that people will not only have a form of self-expression but that they will have clothes that they love to wear. We wish them all the very best and look forward to seeing photos from the fashion show.”