Christine hopes to beat her own record

Christine Mitchell from Newton Mearns helps the homeless.
Christine Mitchell from Newton Mearns helps the homeless.

Local crafter Christine Mitchell from Newton Mearns is on a mission to sew her way to alleviating poverty.

Christine is the star at Glasgow City Mission’s annual Craft Fair, last year raising an amazing £1,050 to tackle homelessness in Glasgow. It’s a figure which she hopes to beat this year to raise much needed funds for a cause close to her heart.

Christine says, “From a very early age I was interested in creating something from whatever materials were lying around. When I retired I worked with a charity which opened centres for disabled children in Belarus. I went out there each year to give out Christmas gifts for the children. For some it was their only gift. In order to have more presents to give out I started to do more sewing.

“When the charity closed in 2012, Glasgow City Mission got in touch and asked if I would take a table at the Craft Fair. The amount increased each year until last year when the total was £1,050. It looks as if I will beat it this year. I am motivated when people admire and want to buy something I have created.

“I have known about Glasgow City Mission for a number of years. My family was at the opening of the new premises in 2009.”

Money she raises helps men such as John, who has been coming to the Younger Men’s Lunch Club since 2009, when he was living in a hostel. He says, “It’s a safe place to come and socialise. You come in on a Friday and it helps you feel better if you haven’t been having a good week. It’s good banter. I trained as a hairdresser, I had my own business. Then I was in a car crash and was out of action for 18 months. I had to close the shop, everything fell like dominoes. I got into debt.”

He is putting his skills to good use by giving haircuts at the lunch club. He says, “It’s satisfying. The guys feel better about themselves afterwards - if you’re homeless you can feel terrible about yourself. The Mission has helped me. I got help to put my CV together and found work in Aldi and Amazon. I brushed up my computer skills at the IT class.”

Graham Steven, Partnerships and Communications Manager at Glasgow City Mission, says, “We are so grateful to Christine for all of the work which she puts into producing and selling goods for our Craft Fair. Every penny she raises goes towards the services which we run for vulnerable men and women such as John who are homeless and marginalized. Services include an evening Drop-in, lunch clubs and classes and services such as art classes and help with job searches designed to help people improve their situations, grow in self-esteem and fulfil their potential.”

The Craft Fair takes place this year on Saturday, November 12 from 10am – 3pm at Glasgow City Mission’s premises on 20 Crimea Street, between Argyle Street and the Broomielaw. A wide range of locally produced crafts will be on sale. Along with Christine’s sewing, stallholders will be selling home baking, cushions, jewellery and pottery. There will also be tea and coffee, fresh scones, and building tours on offer.