Thursday February 1st 2024
Laura Paris working at the Gorebridge Lend and Mend Hub, with manager Alison Dunwell.
A Midlothian library is giving local residents the chance to work on their sewing skills after opening its own Lend and Mend Hub.
The hub gives locals the chance to pop in and take advantage of sewing machines, whether they want to repair a tear or make new items of clothing from scratch, with cutting tables, a tailors dummy and even an overlocker to create professional seams and finishing.
And it is free to use thanks to funding from The John Lewis Partnership.
Opened in August, the hub has seen dozens of people popping in to brush up their sewing skills as well as holding classes for youngsters and beginners who want to rediscover the art.
Laura Paris is a regular visitor to the hub, which is one of only nine operating across Scotland and discovered the hub after popping into the library to use its wi-fi.
Part time social worker Laura, whose dad was a tailor, used to be a keen dressmaker and regularly does alterations at home. She has been bringing her granddaughter to the hub to pass on her skills.
She said: “I noticed the hub one day when I came in to use library WiFi. I was blown away by the suite and the modern machines, particularly the overlocker and embroidery machines.
“It’s a really valuable resource for the area and I have been telling family and friends about it. I have been loving using the hub to spend quality time with my nine year old granddaughter and have been passing on sewing skills and doing craft activities with her.”
The hub aims to not only encourage more people to sew but also to reduce inequality through access to resources. As well as the equipment, which also includes a dress dummy, it offers sewing classes and seasonal craft sessions.
Alison Dunwell who manages the Gorebridge Lend and Mend Hub said: ”I’d encourage anyone who is curious or interested to pop in and try out the hub.
“You don’t need sewing experience as it’s open to everyone. If you do have a sewing project the hub makes it easier to focus because it is a dedicated space and we have all the equipment you need – not just the machines but also thread, scissors and pins etc.”
There is no need to book in advance to use the hub which has seen everything from large projects to a man popping in to mend the collar on his coat and a woman who was making draught excluding curtains for her camper van.
Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for community facilities, Councillor Dianne Alexander said:
“This hub is proving popular with the local community. It’s helping people learn new skills or improve rusty ones and it’s providing a space to enjoy some creative fun with others. It is also helping people play their part in reducing waste by allowing them to upcycle items and allowing them to save money by being able to make their own things during the Cost-of-Living crisis.”
Alison is currently looking to get a sewing club started and also in the long term sewing sessions for young people. If you are interested then email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01875 820630 or pop into Gorebridge Library to express interest.Tweet Share on Facebook