In The News

Could you be Sew Positive’s new treasurer?

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Sew Positive is looking to recruit a new treasurer.

Over the past two years, Sew Positive has gone from strength to strength and we are now looking to expand our Board of Trustees to help shape the future. It’s an exciting time to join the Board as we work to build on our programmes for individuals, our community and businesses.

We are fully committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and diversity in the work we undertake and in the provision of all our services. We welcome applications from a wide range of individuals; passion for the organisation and our work is key, along with an understanding of and a commitment to the legal function of the trustee role. Experience of the charitable sector is desirable but not essential.

Sew Positive is currently a small charity, therefore all trustee roles require a blend of strategic thinking and hands-on involvement to shape the future direction of the charity. Each trustee appointment is for a term of three years.

All trustees must be able to commit to four Board meetings and one strategic planning day per year in Cambridge. The role generally also requires an average of one day per month for trustee responsibilities. All trustee roles are voluntary but reasonable expenses, such as travel costs, will be reimbursed.

The role of treasurer

The Treasurer will oversee the financial and assurance matters of the charity in line with good practice and in accordance with the governing document and legal requirements. The Treasurer will report to the Board of Trustees at regular intervals about the financial health of the organisation to enable the Board to better make strategic decisions. The Treasurer will ensure that effective financial and other risk measures, controls and procedures are put in place, and are appropriate for the charity.

Summary of responsibilities

  • Oversee the presentation of budgets, internal management accounts and annual financial statements to the Board of Trustees
  • Lead the Board’s duty to ensure that proper accounting records are kept, financial resources are properly controlled, invested and economically spent, in line with good governance, legal and regulatory requirements
  • Monitor and advise on the financial viability of the charity
  • Oversee financial controls and adherence to systems, regularly liaising with the Chair and Chief Executive to ensure that policies are observed and operational risk is minimised
  • Act as the Trustee lead on the appointment of and liaison with professional advisors, to include, but not limited to, external accountants
  • Act as a counter-signatory on large payments
  • Liaise with the Chief Executive to keep an overview of the organisation’s affairs and to provide support as appropriate including business development
  • Liaise with the Chief Executive to develop the financial understanding of the Board of Trustees.

Please note that the Treasurer also has the general responsibilities of a Trustee.

If you’re interested in applying, please send us the following:
● an up-to-date CV, biography or LinkedIn profile
● a short supporting statement explaining how you believe your skills and experience would add value to Sew Positive
● Details of any business or other interests which might give rise to conflict of interest, and
how you could address this should your application be successful.

If you have any queries about any aspect of the appointment process, need additional information or would like to have an informal and confidential discussion then please contact

Read more about the role of trustees here.

Needle little calm in your life? Try Sew Positive! – Cambridge Network

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A charity is helping share the wellbeing calm of creativity, one stitch at a time, thanks to grant funding support from South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Sew Positive is a small charity that hosts various classes and events bringing people together through sewing for positive mental health.

Their events have included a wellbeing creative day at Cambridge Central mosque, embroidery kit days at Shelford Library, and upcycling lampshades at the Hub in Cambourne by repurposing donated fabric.

Read the full article on the Cambridge Network here

Zhenya Nekrasova

Ukrainian refugee learns new skills thanks to sewing charity: South West Londoner

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A Ukrainian refugee was able to connect with the local community and join fellow refugees in learning new skills thanks to the efforts of Sew Positive, the Cambridge sewing charity, supported by The National Lottery.

Zhenya Nekrasova, 26, moved to Cambridgeshire in April 2022, away from her family and friends in Zaporizhzhya amid the ongoing conflict in her home country. Initially struggling with separation from her family and knowing no one in the local community, Nekrasova discovered Sew Positive after meeting charity founder Melissa Santiago-Val.

Read the full article in SW Londoner here

Tackling Textile Waste: Cambridge Edition

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Whatever your thoughts on the fashion industry, clothes are crucial. Not only do they keep us warm and dry, but they help us express ourselves, conveying aspects of personality, taste and the cultures or trends that we
subscribe to.

The problem is, in recent years, consumption of clothing has gone through a dizzying increase; in the last two decades alone, the amount of clothes being bought around the world has doubled, with over 80 billion garments made every year. Each item of clothing uses a vast quantity of energy, raw materials, chemicals, labour and water in its production, making fast fashion a pressing environmental challenge faced by the planet.

Click here to read the full article.

Sew Positive to upcycle textile waste provided by Cambridge office fit-out specialist COEL

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Sew Positive, the Cambridge sewing and repair charity, has partnered with COEL to find ways of reusing and upcycling sample fabrics for use in office and workspace interiors.

The charity helps people to learn to make, repair, mend, upcycle and repurpose clothes. It also aims to build communities of like-minded people facing social exclusion, and those working with the charity have found how sewing can be calming, and improve mental health and wellbeing.

Now it has teamed up with Cambridge-based office fit-out and design specialist COEL to cut down textile waste, providing discontinued swatches and remnants from previous projects.

Click here to read the full article on Cambridge Independent.

Sew Positive’s National Lottery funding for ‘Sewcialise and Upcycle’ workshops

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Cambridge charities Sew Positive and Cambridge Women’s Resources Centre (CWRC) have been awarded £10,000 National Lottery funding to run a year-long programme of workshops and events to tackle climate change through fashion and textile recycling.

The programme includes teaching repairing and mending, upcycling and repurposing clothes. Workshops will range from using a sewing machine and making sustainable sanitary products to creative workshops on repurposing clothes and charity shop finds.

The first series of weekly two-hour afternoon courses starts on April 19 and lasts 12 weeks. Courses will be repeated in autumn and spring terms for new groups.

Click here to read the full article in Cambridge Independent.

A Lasting Memento of the Queen’s Jubilee

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Haslingfield is having a go at the Sew Positive Jubilee Community Bunting Challenge.

Click here to listen to the interview on the BBC.

Employee Wellbeing

Sew Positive and Phoenix Trust Collaborate

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Phoenix Trust, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities, participated in a workshop organised by Sew Positive to customise aprons for their new cake making business. Phoenix Trust’s association with Sew Positive started when they very kindly provided a wonderful array of masks towards the start of the pandemic.

Recently they came on site with their sewing machines, offering not just their time and expertise, but also materials. The Phoenix co-workers were delighted with their designs which have subsequently received many compliments! It was also a great opportunity to have a go at learning a new skill working on the sewing machine, cutting the fabric and using the iron to press pieces flat.

Click here to read the full article.

Hang Out The Bunting: Velvet Magazine

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St Mary’s School alumna Melissa Santiago-Val is creating bunting for her former school, using old uniforms
that are now beyond repair. The bunting will act as a point of interest for special occasions at the school, as well as highlighting textile waste and encouraging support for the new charity.

Commenting on the project, Melissa said: “I’m delighted to be doing this for St Mary’s School and | hope that it will act as a talking point for discussion on textile waste, creativity and how activities, such as sewing, can help support positive mental health.”

Click here to read the full article on Velvet Magazine.

Upcycled uniform makes branded bunting

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A new charity, Sew Positive, set up by alumna Melissa Santiago-Val (at school 1976-1986), is making a celebratory set of St Mary’s bunting by upcycling old school uniforms that are beyond repair, to highlight the issue of textile waste, promote wellbeing through sewing and encourage people to think of alternatives to textile waste.

The charity already raised £40k for NHS charities together, and has progressed from making face coverings to delivering workshops to vulnerable groups across Cambridge facing isolation and mental health issues, including a course for women at the Cambridge Women’s Resource Centre, aprons for the Phoenix Trust in Milton and uniforms for Turtle Dove social enterprise.

One of its’ volunteers, Joanna (pictured) has been cutting up the donated skirts ready to match to a blue background. Sparkling gold thread will be used to match the St Mary’s emblem, which will run in zig-zag stitch across the top of the bunting’s blue webbing.

Click here to read the full article.

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