Braid Women’s Group was meeting on Wednesdays at Sure Start St Matthews from 11 am to 1 pm. There was a crèche for children 6 months – 5 years old.

The sessions were running until the end of December 2010.

The sessions were informal – asylum seeker, refugee and other newly arrived women met to share and learn arts and crafts skills.

Alongside arts and craft activities a midwife and other health and support professionals ran health awareness sessions and offered advice

Soft Touch worked in partnership with Assist and Sure Start to run the group with funding from The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation


Braid comes to an end 

The Braid project has now come to an end as the supportive funding from The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation has reached the end of the agreed period.

2010 has been a successful year for Braid where support and peer support has been offered to newly arrived women in Leicester, some of which are refugees and asylum seekers or women waiting to find out about their future status may be. Some of the participants have struggled through difficult personal circumstances; others who are settled have enjoyed the support and positive atmosphere in the group.

Lets hear what the participants themselves have to say about this year with Braid:“I like coming because I learn many new things, sewing, art etc. I really like meeting new friends. I feel I have a family here”
“The sessions have helped me to gain confidence”

“I have learnt arts and crafts skills that will be very helpful my whole life and to pass on to my children”

“It has widened my horizon by meeting/making friends with mothers from different religions and cultures”

“Every week I have met new people, improved my English language skills and helped me feel part of a group”

“Above all it is a “free from worries” “no-miseries” time.” Says participant living with Post traumatic stress disorder

In this time of extensive cuts in services for the most vulnerable groups in society Soft Touch Arts Ltd would like to emphasise the significance of building opportunities for positive, creative socialising and peer support, in a professionally supervised comfortable environment.



Braid 2008 – 2009

Participant’s comments:

“I go to other classes, but it is just me and a computer or me and the teacher and books.  But, here I get a personal touch and personal attention and we can discuss anything and everything. The midwives and the nurses come while we do art and we get special help. This group teaches us a lot, new skills and also that we are important and it makes us feel better about ourselves, we make each other happy –  it’s good to get away from our sadness, turmoil and devastated lives.”
“I like to learn new things and this is a good place and good people who help me and make me feel better because I’ve lost so many people in my life, my mum, my dad, my sisters and my baby, and coming here doesn’t make me feel so alone and sad.”

Health Professional’s comment:

“They have a great support network here and it’s very welcoming of women, whatever culture, it’s comfortable.  And also, they don’t have to come every week, but they know when they come they’ll get that really warm welcome.  There’s something about women getting together … especially vulnerable women.  They’ve really been able to bond, it’s been fantastic.”

“They can focus, it’s time for them, the creche is here.  From my point of view – women together, childbearing women – I’ve done pregnancy tests, preconceptual care, chats about labour, a lot of feeding support. We’ve accessed something here which is a bit of a goldmine.”


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