A SEWING group is becoming part of the fabric of the community as well as a place for members to learn new needlework skills.

Rosey Rees was creating a maternity dress for her daughter-in-law at Astley Bridge Baptist Church, when she was struck by the idea that the space could be used to teach the craft to others.

And from there, ABC Sewing Club was born.

The grandmother-of-one got the group off the ground with funding from Bolton CVS and has since twice been award grants through National Lottery funding.

She said: “I thought, why don’t I get together a group and teach people and get them out of their homes and get them together. I’ve got space in the church to run it and do it from there?”

The group aims to combat loneliness, isolation and low self-esteem, as well as passing on techniques.

Rosey, who is a school teacher, says many people find themselves struggling for a variety of reasons.

She said: “One particular lady recently lost her husband. She was his carer and after he died she didn’t want to go out, she just stayed at home. The bottom had fallen out of her world.

“She had done dress making and had a shop that sold fabric but found it so difficult. Even at home she struggled to concentrate on any project.

"But she felt that at least she was coming out to us and it’s helping her to discuss things with me and the rest of the group.

“She has much more confidence now, although she is still grieving.”

Another member recently lost her mother.

Rosey added: “She felt so lonely and after the death of her mother and just wanted to get out but was finding it so difficult.”

Rosey says the while many members of the group are older, there are young members, too.

She added: “I’ve got a young mum in my group and she finds it isolating having a baby at home. Young mums find their lives have changed so much from how they were previously, even if they go back to work.

“It’s so relaxing for them to come to the class and do what they want and learn a new skill.”

Rosey, who lives in Sharples, says that she has become a ‘counsellor, first-aider and social worker’ since setting up the group in late 2014.

But she says members of the group talk through their problems and support each other, too and it has a positive effect on how they feel about themselves.

Next year Rosey will be running blocks of classes where members will be shown how to make things such as bags and cushions as well as how to use a sewing machine.

ABC Sewing Group meets at Astley Bridge Baptist Church, Eden Street on Saturday mornings between 8am and 10am and on Thursday evenings between 7pm and 9pm.

Sessions begin again in the New Year, from Jan 11.

To find out more contact Rosey Rees on 07814898648, email abcsewinggroup@hotmail.com or visit abcsewinggroup.co.uk