Posted by Helen Clifton on Friday 2.8.2013

“Because it’s a church people feel safe…they think there must be something good happening here.”


A sewing group with a difference, Remnants is about, ‘sewing the fabric of a healthy community’.

In a workshop created within the fabric of Saltley Methodist Church, a group of women from across the community meet twice a week from 10am to 2pm.

They take in seconds of soft furnishings, ends of fabric rolls and other donations of thread, buttons, and beads, and from this make something new – from clothes, to household items, to pieces of decorative jewellery.

“It is nice to have Muslims in the church; even though it is not their religion, they want to be here and they have no hang-ups about it. They are just like you and I.” Marge Jordan, Remnants volunteer


Teacher Nisreen Mubarak works with volunteers drawn from across the community.

For her it has been a great opportunity to share her skills and knowledge with women of all ages, faiths and ethnic backgrounds.

“We are working together…there’s no boundaries. It’s like a place of sanctuary. We leave our problems behind. There shouldn’t be differences between us. This place is an example of how it should be. I’d love to see more classes like this.” Nisreen Mubarak, Remnants Tutor


The group, created 15 years ago, is funded through a variety of funds and grants.

Attendees come from across the breadth of the community. These include young women from Somalia, East Europe, Pakistan and Birmingham. Volunteer teacher Enid moved to Saltley from the Caribbean 50 years ago, and passes on her expertise as a machinist.


The group meet and share, and through their work they learn about one anothers’ cultures, faith and traditions.

“You wouldn’t believe it, but I was the sort of person who kept myself to myself. Since I had the children I hadn’t left the house. So Remnants brought that confidence back to me. There’s so much to learn.

“I would respect a church as I would respect our mosques. We’re so lucky to have this opportunity to come here and chat and mix with everybody.

“Without Remnants, some of our women would be lost.” Shaisha Parveen, Remnants member


The aim for the project is to sell the products and use the money as the first step towards establishing Remnants as a social enterprise.

The future for the group includes plans to expand the workshop space, and so increase the numbers who can come. There is currently a waiting list for places, but no one leaves, so more space is essential.


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