We caught up with Cindy Rapson, 2018 Development Fund winner, whose Recovery Quilt project is nearing completion.

It’s always interesting to hear how someone moved an idea into a reality. How do you make a difference to a cause you care about? How do you get in touch with people who can help you make it happen? And how do you even get the idea in the first place?

Cindy first heard about the Recovery Devon Development Fund from a flyer she saw at Devon Recovery Learning Communities, who loved her idea and helped her get up the courage to apply.

We asked her how the journey felt; here, she shares some of the joys (and challenges!) of running a recovery-focussed project.

“I’ve done creative workshops for many years, but recently started seeing how useful and popular sewing is. I have always loved quilts and quilting (passed down from my grandmother) and the companionship that it brings when working on a project together. Sewing in a group fits beautifully with “The Five Ways To Wellbeing.”  It’s a reminder to the recipient and the contributors. At the end of a sewing project, there’s something comforting, inspiring, and beautiful to lift a shared space, or to help someone.”

“Applying for a Development Fund grant was fairly straightforward initially. It took a lot of thought. I wasn’t sure whether my proposal would be accepted, so I took on another commission to make 49 choir jackets for Appledoor Singers. Plus I work. Then my proposal was accepted a while later  – so the workload was pretty intense!

I needed sewing machines, fabric and thread to do the project as a group. I also needed to take care of my work/life balance.”

“I took the project to Langdon forensic hospital, which was a new experience for me personally. I was surprised by the enthusiasm, joy, and pride the lads felt at using the sewing machines and producing something creative. 

Far and away the biggest success was seeing the motivation from everyone with their contribution and creativity towards the project. Witnessing someone else’s joy and sense of achievement in making something beautiful is priceless, really.”

“Everyone made one or more squares, and the finished quilt will be toured to mental health settings around Devon for display. It was nice that so many people could contribute. There’s enough artwork and inspiring quotes to make a second quilt.

Also, I’m going to carry the project on further and keep doing more, if I have time. I’d like to make up some community quilt project kits and patterns and maybe do a magazine article, so that Recovery Quilts can spread from Devon and be made around the country.”

“If anyone is thinking of applying for the Development Fund, I would tell them that I found it very worthwhile and a good experience.

It’s a great opportunity to contribute to good mental health in Devon.

Finally, I’d like to say a huge thanks to Recovery Devon for all that you do, and for your encouragement!”

Thank you to Cindy and everyone who took part in making the Recovery Quilt. Even guests at our Celebration Day were invited to have a go!

We can’t wait to share photos of the finished quilt. If you would like to host the quilt, or can help Cindy’s work to reach a wider audience, please contact us.

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