Craft4Smiles C.I.C. is a community that is passionate about crafting and ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate in the activities that have been of significant benefit to our own mental wellbeing. We specialize in paper crafting and mixed media work. Established as a social enterprise to work with adults aged 18 years and over, we aim to help to improve the mental health and wellbeing of adults aged 18 years and over who:
- Feel excluded/are isolated or lonely;
- Are experiencing mental health problems, including as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are a Community Interest Company (C.I.C.), a limited company which operates to provide a benefit to the community we serve. We are therefore 'not for profit’ with all profits made being invested in the organization. To find out more about the 'C.I.C.' model click here.
Having adapted our approach in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are currently delivering all of our activities online. We are therefore able to offer crafting activities across the UK and are keen to have conversations with individuals, communities and organizations beyond our original boundaries of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Go to our Organization page to see our Mission, Principles, Vision, Objectives and current Strategic Objectives.
What We Do
We offer a range of craft courses - long and short - and pop-up/taster events. The basis of our courses is paper crafting. In addition, participants are introduced to a range of other materials, tools and techniques with paper crafting providing the basis for a wider exploration of mixed media approaches. At the end of each session, each participant has a quality item to take away. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, all courses are currently delivered online in real time via zoom with all the materials and tools needed posted in advance of the lessons. However, we look forward to using both face to face and online delivery in the long term.
Pop-up/taster events introduce 1 or 2 crafting activities. They are fun, social activities that offer the opportunity to dip into the chosen crafts. Our short courses allow the exploration of a specific crafting activity such as quilling, the ancient art of rolling narrow strips of coloured paper to make stunning 2D and 3D designs, memory book making - in which you will make a personalized record of special people or events. They allow the development of some key crafting skills and knowledge such as the range of adhesives and paper/card types and weights, decorative materials and techniques such as inking, stamping and dusting, glitter and gilding wax. Our long courses allow participants to explore more than 20 crafting techniques and to develop their skills to become advanced crafters. Lessons quickly move on to creative ways of applying the techniques learned producing a vast range of mixed media effects. They also have the opportunity to opt to train to become assistant and then craft tutors for Craft4Smiles C.I.C.
Our craft groups offer the opportunity for the development of sustained and supportive relationships between participants and between participants and the tutor. Participants also have the opportunity to opt to train to become assistant and then craft tutors for Craft4Smiles C.I.C.
We are developing our gallery where members of our community are able to display and sell the wonderful things they have made. The crafting techniques we learn and apply particularly lend themselves to home decor, stationery - gift boxes and notebooks and greeting cards.
We are keen to help as many people as possible to start crafting, to develop their skills or simply to have a go at making things they haven't tried before. Our Kits and Elegant Bits' (off-cuts from our crafting projects) offer the opportunity for those who have not yet participated in one of our courses to share in our crafting activities. Take a look to find something you could personalize to your home or to the home of someone important in your life that you could send as a gift.
Who We Are
Fiona Adley, Co-Founder/Director
I have a real passion for helping to ensure those who, as a result of a mental health problem, loneliness or exclusion, find that the they are not able to fulfill their potential and/or to participate fully in their communities and families. I have been lucky enough to live and breathe this passion, through my many years of work in the NHS and with Councils across the country. I am even luckier now - I have been able to set up an organization for which this is the sole focus.
I first came to Cambridge in October 2016. I met Gray early in 2017 - ballroom dancing. We had both decided that we wanted to learn something new and, fortunately, this brought us together - if we hadn't decided to set out on new pathways, we might never have met. Very soon after meeting him, I discovered that Gray was passionate about paper crafting, a natural teacher and desperate to use this, and his own learning from the various challenges that he had navigated throughout his life, to help others. I have been very lucky to have the chance to learn a myriad of crafts over the last 3 years and we now spend much of our time in the our craft room at our home in Papworth Everard. I have discovered that the artistic side of me has much more potential than I had ever thought and I thrive on crafting in general and on creating one-off pieces in particular. You can see what we get up to day-by-day in 'Crafting Notes' on the Crafting Page.
I have always been interested in how organizations run, wanting to set up my own organization in a way that everyone, whatever, their ability or role inside or outside is considered to be equal and has the opportunity to give whatever they have to give to it. Meeting Gray has given me just the opportunity I was looking for.
Over the next 3 years, working with group participants in our courses and the community that we build together, we will work towards generating over 50% income from sales of our craft courses so that we are not reliant on craft funding. This will be achieved through sales of our crafting courses and by offering members of our community the opportunity to display the items they have made in our gallery In time, we will extend the opportunity to sell through our web-site to paper crafters who have not participated in our courses.
Grahame Adley, Co-Founder/Director
Life has presented me with a number of challenges and opportunities and I am keen to make use of what I have learned as I worked through these to help others who are struggling to build the confidence and skills they need to progress and improve their mental wellbeing.
15 years ago, I lost my wife, Chris to cancer. I started to paint and then moved to crafting to help to fill the gap she left in my life. I spent the next 12 years learning and acquiring equipment and materials working under the name "One Off Originals". I have learned that there is creativity within all of us and I am as passionate about helping others to explore this as I am about sharing my learning through my life experiences to help and support others.
When I met Fiona, I was considering volunteering to work with a charity as a craft tutor. Through Fiona's contacts, I started to explore the opportunities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and was lucky with the timing, finding the opportunity to become a tutor with Lifecraft, Cambridge which had just succeeded in a bid to the People's Trust for funding for crafting, art and singing activities. Evidently, this was 'just meant to be'! I found that, as I had hoped, I was able to help a number of people and that we could have a lot of fun along the way.
Over the next 2 years I worked with 87 different people. This included running some classes in Newmarket when Lifecraft opened there on a part time basis. When the 2 years of People's Trust funding came to an end, Fiona and I decided that the activity had been so successful and enjoyable for all concerned, that we would continue to run the group on a voluntary basis while we set up a business. That was in August 2019. In November 2019, we were registered as a C.I.C. with Companies House.
Many of the original members of the Lifecraft craft group continue to attend the craft group and 6 new people have joined us. Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all working hard to develop the range of activities we offer.
Susie Willis, Director
For the past 3 years I have been the Chief Executive Officer of Care Network, Cambridgeshire, a local charity, established over 30 years ago to help people maintain their independence at home as well as staying in touch with their local community. I love working with my team and the organizations that we support to help to improve the lives of individuals and communities. I love to see a job well done. I have worked in the voluntary sector for 8 years, including working with Boxing Futures, a charity that delivers sport for good, providing community rehabilitation programmes for young people aged 16-25 years.
I want to support Craft4Smiles C.I.C. because I absolutely believe in the vision that Fiona and Gray have built. I see Craft4Smiles C.I.C. as providing a valuable and much needed opportunity for positive engagement and the start of self-actualisation for those who feel they have no control over their lives. I am extremely passionate about grass roots community organisations and believe I have good skills and background to support the organisation through this critical development phase.
Modestas Kavaliauskas, Director
Earlier this year I joined the NHS England and NHS Improvement National Adult Mental Health Team to lead a programme of policy delivery and development for adult crisis care. Prior to joining the National Team I have worked for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough system where my role for nearly 4 years has been to oversee the development of the high profile programme – Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat. I have also led and coordinated a number of community-based mental health service redesign projects focused on ensuring delivery of more resilient mental health services locally. This is where I had the huge pleasure to work, get to know and develop great friendship with Fiona and Graham.
Soon after graduating from MSc in Health Systems, Economics and Public Policy in 2013 I relocated from Edinburgh to Cambridge and worked as a consultant on evaluations of British Council global and regional projects as well as conducted the evaluation of the impact and Return of Investment of the NHS Leadership Academy and NHS Education Scotland various programmes.
I have always been an artsy soul that enjoys painting and fashion and also loves travelling, cooking and various sport activities. I believe that various art forms and, in particular, crafting can immensely help people to forget some of day to day worries, connect us with one another and foster positivity and wellbeing. I am really excited to join Craft4Smiles C.I.C. on this very exciting journey to improve people’s day to day lives through crafting activities.
'I just wanted to say thank you for the way you made the sessions fun, encouraging and welcoming made me feel like I belonged somewhere, something I haven’t felt in a really long time. You helped me re-discover my passion for crafts and arts, it's really helped me along in my recovery and contributed in my decision to apply for a course. So for everything I mentioned, I am always grateful.' B
'Thank you both for all the help and support you have given me. And for opening the world of crafts to me. I can't thank you enough.' L