From us

14 September 2019
Be Inspired Business Awards 2019!
The BIBAs is Lancashire’s largest and longest running business awards programme. We are incredibly proud to have been nominated in the Third Sector Business of the Year category and had a fantastic time meeting the judges and sharing more about our passions – social enterprise and its triple bottom line: people, planet and profit!

Congratulations to all those who took part in this fantastic celebration of the best of Lancashire!

10 September 2019
Bespoke soft furnishings – #BuySocial

We’re enjoying expanding our line of products! Having started with a curtain hemming service, we now provide a wide range of bespoke upholstery and soft furnishings, for both home and business customers. And as our own business grows, we are able to handle larger orders. From transforming John Lewis’ overstock school uniforms to providing curtains for an international hotel chain, we’re constantly looking for ways to strengthen local, circular, sustainable economies.

#BuySocial is an essential aspect of our approach to work, and we continue to work with renowned fabric company Panaz to redirect and upcycle waste fabrics that otherwise would end up as landfill. We’ve recently branched out into making customised curtains and seat coverings for caravans and motorhomes. It’s providing fantastic scope for the imagination and creativity!

28 August 2019
Our professional services – bespoke commissions of soft furnishings, curtains and upholstery
The Sewing Rooms’ manufacturing department is always busy working on bespoke commissions and upcycling huge varieties of fabrics and pieces of furniture. Examples of some our recent work are below. If you have a piece of fabric or a particular bit of furniture that you love that needs a bit of a refurb, please get in touch! We can bring your much loved items back to full, glorious life!

If you’re interested in learning how to upholster or sew, or want to dust off old skills, give us a call! We have a new programme of training events starting in September.

12 August 2019
SEW science banners unveiled
Two local schools used sewing and science to create banners illustrating their recent topics of study. The Sewing Rooms’ tutor Laura Scott, supported by the Coop, worked with students from St. Richard’s and St. Thomas primary schools.

The creativity of young children is always inspiring! Great job to all the students who took part!

8 July 2019
Co-founder Paula’s story of social entrepreneurship is one of the 100 published by Gulnaz Brennan in her book 100 Women Stories. Launched at an event in late March 2019, the book brings together the inspirational stories of 100 women from across Bolton and beyond who are changing their lives and the lives of those around them through their work and passion. Congratulations to all involved!

2 July 2019
It’s the Age of Inspiration!
With support from UnLtd, Transforming Ageing and Capacity Lab, The Sewing Rooms’ wellbeing events are proving to be a wonderful success! A combination of music, chat, education, fun and food, the Age of Inspiration events are designed to help older people connect with others in their local area. For people at high risk of social isolation, the events put a smile on faces from the moment everyone walks in the door.

Talks about ways to incorporate the Five Ways of Wellbeing into daily life are interspersed with live musical performances, stand-up comedy and other inspirational experiences. Feedback from some of the more than 150 people who attended the Huyton event earlier this year includes:

  • “It’s absolutely fantastic”
  • “I loved the talks”
  • “It’s a fabulous day”
  • “It makes you think about what more you could be doing to connect with others”
  • “Everybody’s talking to people they don’t know”

Check back regularly for forthcoming events.

24 June 2019
Congratulations! Paula Highly Commended in the 2019 Inspire Awards!
The Inspire Awards‘ Women in Social Enterprise category celebrates women working in a leadership role and or as founders of a social enterprise who truly demonstrate and communicate an impact with stakeholders, are genuinely engaged with employees, and trade for the benefit of the community.

Congratulations to Paula for being Highly Commended!

“I can’t quite believe it,” said Paula! “I’m very proud to have been nominated alongside so many inspiring colleagues! Well done to everyone!”

22 June 2019
Alternative Ascot Day – 21 June 2019!
Alternative Ascot Day 2019 Started more than 30 years ago by The Sewing Rooms’ co-founder Paula, when she and a bunch of girlfriends missed their train, Alternative Ascot has raised thousands of pounds for causes across the country. This year, proceeds are going towards The Sewing Rooms’ forthcoming programmes and expansion into even more local communities.

Held at the Lancashire Manor Hotel in Skelmersdale, the day was a fabulous success! Tickets sold out, the entertainment was sensational and best of all, friends, neighbours and colleagues got together in support of social enterprise!

12 June 2019
Cofounder Paula featured at Manchester Big Heart Skills event
Speaking as part of a panel of “trailblazing women changemakers across the NW managing community enterprise manufacturing ventures, practical arts and cultural changemaking workshops,” The Sewing Rooms’ co-founder Paula provided insight and tips on “growing your venture through supply chain development.” The quarterly Lunch and Learn series is hosted by Flourish CIC in partnership with the Big Heart Skills Network. This event was held on 16 May 2019.

Both Paula and Maureen are available for speaking engagements and have a wealth of insight to share about their work in social business. Please get in touch!

10 June 2019
Join us for Biophilia Walks!
From Saturday 8 June 2019, the Growing Strong programme is hosting a series of weekly walks to music for new and expectant mothers. Led by Michelle Parkinson, the walks use silent disco technology to provide a playlist of music designed especially to enhance walkers’ wellbeing. “The music is a huge part of the experience,” says Michelle. “It has been curated to destress, uplift and refresh the women involved.”

Walks leave from the Skelmersdale Library in Southway every Saturday and Wednesday at 1030am and 1230pm both days.

Full details are below. We hope to see you there!

4 June 2019
Maureen honoured at Buckingham Palace
The Sewing Rooms co-founder Maureen Fazal was honoured at the 2019 Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Maureen was recognised for her years of passionate dedication to helping women and other vulnerable people not only find their feet, but also to go on to thrive and develop, through creative, empathetic, entrepreneurial support.

While there, she and Paula bumped into old friend Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and reminisced about their work together more than 30 years ago. The project was called Tomorrow’s People Today and was a forerunner of social enterprise.

It was a grand day out! Congratulations, Maureen!

28 May 2019
The Sewing Rooms shortlisted in BIBA awards
Lancashire’s largest and longest running business awards programme, the Be Inspired Business Awards (BIBAs) connect innovators across Lancashire who are driving growth and promoting excellence. The Sewing Rooms are proud to have made it through the rigorous application process to the judging stage and will be attending interviews in the coming weeks. Congratulations to our team of dedicated creatives who help make our success possible.

14 May 2019
Paula nominated for the 2019 Inspire Awards
We’re SEW proud to announce that co-founder Paula is a finalist in the Women in Social Enterprise category of the 2019 Inspire Awards.

“The Inspire Women Awards celebrate the huge wealth of outstanding contributions women have made to the wider Bolton area, including surrounding areas of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and NorthWest.

“Now in its fifth year, the 2019 event will be packed with stories of unsung heroes, community champions and women who have gone above and beyond in the course of their work, service and passions.”

The celebration and awards evening will be on 22 June 2019; we’ll be sure to provide an update on the event! Thanks so much to the person who nominated Paula!

8 May 2019
New look nursery at Blackburne House
Our amazing team got especially creative for the little ones and made gorgeous seat pads and cushions for the stunning window seat in the Blackburne House nursery. We of course used wonderful fabrics from Panaz. Beautiful surroundings are important for wellbeing at all ages!

blackburne house nursery

30 April 2019
Our sewing and upholstery teams take commissions. Even if all you have is a vague idea, our team of creatives would love to help you design the perfect gift – for you or a loved one! If you have an old piece of furniture that could use an upgrade, we’re the company to help with that. We can hem curtains to fit, create made-to-measure curtains for any space and size, and we sell a huge variety of unique items that our teams have lovingly, and painstakingly, restored.

For much of our work, we use roll-end fabrics donated by Panaz. We work hard to reuse and upcycle (and recycle when we have to), and taking part in a circular economy is a very important part of the way we work. That is partially why we are able to offer such unique pieces – many of which are one-offs and bespoke. Examples of some our recent commissions and bespoke pieces are below. Thanks for supporting #BuySocial!

16 April 2019
Celebrating Easter with creative workshops at IKEA
Some of our favourite things are the IKEA creative workshops we hold in the holidays! Have a look at some of the fabulous Easter creations! Hope to see you at our next one!

8 April 2019
Relax in peace!
Our Peace chair is for sale and is an example of the exquisite craftsmanship our sewing and upholstery teams produce every day! For beautiful, bespoke furniture, soft furnishings and curtains, please get in touch! We’d love to help!

peace chair

28 March 2019
Sew science!
In partnership with the Co-op, we held a sewing workshop at one of our local primary schools, St Thomas the Martyr. The Co-op’s Plastic Bag Fund supported the work, and with a host of talented, energetic and creative students, we created the Sew Science banner.

20 March 2019
Withy Trees Day Centre refurbishment complete
We’ve had a great time redesigning the dementia day centre’s social areas. In the dining room, we recovered chairs and tables and created an interactive memory wall. We also reupholstered armchairs and made double-pinch pleat curtains. Overall, we went for a 70s look and feel with the colours and fabrics. Many thanks to Panaz for the fabrics, and our team for the exquisite craftsmanship. Yet another fantastic example of the power of buying social and buying local!

12 March 2019
Outstanding contribution to social enterprise

more high sheriffCongratulations to Paula for her award from the High Sheriff of Lancashire for her outstanding contribution to social enterprise!

26 February 2019
The Sewing Rooms in Unltd’s latest impact report
We strongly believe in the importance of social enterprise in supporting local communities and helping to bring about constructive change. So it is gratifying to see our work featured in Unltd’s latest impact report. You can read the full report here and the section about the Sewing Rooms’ work here.

Our huge thanks to Unltd for their generosity, encouragement and overall support in helping us achieve our goals and expand on our dreams.

18 February 2019
Co-founders recognised for commitment to community
We are pleased and excited to announce that both co-founders, Maureen and Paula, have been recognised for their commitment to social enterprise and community.

Maureen has been invited to this year’s Buckingham Palace Garden Party on 21 May, and Paula has been selected by The High Sheriff of Lancashire to receive an award on 8 March at the Preston County Hall event.

Both are being recognised for their years of outstanding commitment and support, including Maureen’s decades-long working relationship with a local women’s refuge.

Congratulations, Maureen and Paula!

12 February 2019
The Sewing Rooms featured by Far Nearer
A reporting project by Hazel Sheffield, Far Nearer documents local projects and people building economic resilience in the UK.

The Sewing Rooms was recently featured, and the conversation between co-founder Paula and Hazel includes insights, goals and potential challenges ahead.

You can read the interview in full here.

28 January 2019
Co-founder Paula accepts place on Skelmersdale Place Board
Paula-681x1024The Skelmersdale Place Board is made up from key Skelmersdale leaders from a range of business and public sector organisations. Board members provide strategic leadership in the promotion and development of Skelmersdale. Their tasks include:

  • Directing and overseeing delivery of the Place Plan
  • Considering strategies and projects to see if they should form part of the Plan
  • Championing the Skelmersdale brand narrative and approach
  • Overseeing the Ambassadors programme and
  • Providing support and advice for the local authority and acting as a sounding board on key place issues.

The Place Board is currently recruiting Ambassadors; more information is available in the attached.

Paula says of her role on the board, “I’m very proud and thankful to be able to help spread the word about what a fantastic place Skelmersdale is, for business, for living and for creating a better future for all of us.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the variety of things we will accomplish as we work together as a Board and in partnership with many amazing local businesses and people.”

16 January 2019
New wellbeing sewing project for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse
logo The Sewing Rooms has been awarded a grant from the Community Foundation for Lancashire to run a nine-month wellbeing sewing project with the Liberty Centre (previously known as the West Lancashire Women’s Refuge). The funding comes from the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Tampon Tax Fund.

Led by the Sewing Rooms’ Laura Scott, the project will guide groups of women and girls through the processes of designing and creating decorative community banners. The three themes depicted by the banners will by “A safe place to heal,” “Education and building futures,” and “Moving on.”

The completed banners will be unveiled at the Centre’s AGM in November 2019.

All skill levels will be catered for during the project. The weekly sessions will be underpinned by the Five Ways to Wellbeing, which will create the framework for individual development plans for each participant. The plans will focus on health, wellbeing, self-confidence and local social and economic involvement.

8 January 2019
Happy New Year 2019!
Politically, economically and socially we know there are challenges ahead. We use this new year to rededicate ourselves and our efforts to helping solve community problems through social enterprise, a cornerstone of true equality.

All the best from the Sewing Rooms team! We thank you for your continued support and hope to meet you or work with you sometime in 2019.