The Women’s Fund for Scotland awarded the Make a House a Home project £1,690 to provide workshops that help women in the community to build skills and confidence through DIY training and useful craft-making.
Claire Lees grew up watching her mum single-handily tackle wall-papering, painting and laying down carpets in their home. This had an impact on young Claire, who was inspired to become an interior designer through her passions for DIY, painting and decorating. Ten years on and Claire has founded the Make a House a Home project, which confronts the gender stereotypical DIY industry by teaching women DIY skills and useful craft-making. The Make a House a Home project focuses on building skills such as painting, decorating and creating household objects and in tandem builds confidence as women feel empowered and independent through their new found abilities.
The Women’s Fund for Scotland awarded Make a House a Home with a grant to fund the delivery of a six-week DIY workshop and a follow up five-week craft-making workshop. There are a range of activities tackled in the workshops from ceramic painting for mugs and plates to lampshade decorating, wreath making and wallpaper hanging.
An extensive amount of knowledge has been shared at the Make a House a Home workshops and creativity has been encouraged amongst the group. The women have developed the practical skills required to cost-effectively decorate their home for themselves and their families creating a positive environment and instilling a sense of pride for their home. Their accomplishments boost self-esteem and self-confidence.
“I decorated my son’s bedroom with a space theme and painted the walls myself – something I would not have accomplished without the DIY workshop” Emma revealed.
“When I decorated and styled my home I felt a sense a pride and achieved a promotion at work, improving your home décor has a ripple effect on your confidence levels” Claire expressed.
The workshops are also a chance for the women to socialise, make new friends, have fun and relax while learning valuable practical skills. The founder, Claire Lees informs each member of the group of the weekly activities before the workshops begins and reassures them that all skill levels are welcomed, which reduces anxiety and prepares the women for the project ahead.
“The workshops are a great way to build confidence and I have learnt so much. The group used to be quiet but now we are all friends” added Jan.
“Claire’s passion for DIY and home-styling is contagious” said Emma.
The Make a House a Home project is working closely with CROWN paint, who judged a painting and decorating competition amongst the group and provided the prize of a room worth of paint to the winner. The DIY workshop was held at the South Lanarkshire College, which provided a transport service to the group as it is difficult to reach using public transport. The group have been invited to the CROWN paint headquarters in Darwen and the college are willing to organise a mini bus service to make the visit possible.
The DIY workshop was so popular and well-received that a follow up five-week craft-making workshop was organised with many of the women who attended the first programme returning to the second. There is also a demand for the workshop to continue and provide further DIY training such as plumbing and plastering. The pioneer behind the project, Claire Lees was also invited to Speak at South Lanarkshire’s college Construction Awards and discuss with employers and sponsors the benefits of employing women. Claire highlighted the fact that both women and men working together has the potential to bring a different dimension to the business and offers reassurance to more vulnerable customers.
Claire is keen to extend the existing community project from teaching women basic DIY, painting and decorating skills by offering volunteering opportunities to the group once the project is complete. Claire’s goal is to have the group offer their newly gained skills of home styling to a victim of homelessness, who is now successfully re-homed. The group would support people who are being rehomed by transitioning the house into a safe, secure, positive environment that raises self-confidence, self-worth and motivation to start to rebuild their life.
Many of the women who attend the workshops are disadvantaged through being unemployed, a single parent, having other caring commitments, lack of skills or on low incomes. The opportunity to complete free vocational training inspire empowerment amongst the women as new skills including painting, decorating and creating household objects are learnt. The women develop a sense of independence and gain confidence in their abilities, which raises self-esteem and confidence. The practical skills developed allows the group to offer a free home-styling service to a victim of homelessness – who has recently been re-homed. The aspect of volunteering allows the group to use the skills in the wider community and can also lead to employment or enterprise opportunities.
The Women’s Fund for Scotland recently visited the Make a House a Home community project in action. The talent demonstrated at the recent craft-making workshop was very impressive. The main aim was to develop sewing skills in order to build skills in repairing clothes and to inspire the creation of home-made decorations or useful object such as door stoppers or a pair of gloves. The innovative home-made creations included a cat toy and a 4-tiered heart bedroom decoration. The development manager for the Women’s Fund Scotland, Shona stated: “The Women’s Fund is very proud of what the Make a House a Home project has achieved so far and the significant impact it has had on all participants. The project is growing and I look forward to seeing the future progress of Make a House a Home”.
The Make a House a Home project mainly demonstrates the investment theme of building skills and confidence. The group develop the ability to decorate and style their household, allowing them to personally create a positive, relaxing environment for all the family to enjoy. The DIY industry is generally male – dominated but the women from Make a House a Home are confronting that stereo-type and achieving the training required to cost-effectively enhance their home surroundings, which boosts their independence and raises self-confidence. The knowledge and practical skills acquired can lead to volunteer opportunities as the group can provide a home-styling service to others meaning the wider community can benefit. Many women who attend the workshop face the restrictions of being unemployed, a single parent, having other caring commitments, lack of skills or on low income The workshops are a fun and friendly gathering, which are both enjoyable and informative.
If you’d like to know more about making a donation to support organisations like the Make a House a Home project, through the Women’s Fund for Scotland please get in touch with Shona Blakeley, Development Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 524 0353.