Case Studies

Stitch The Gap

Patricia Papworth set up her social enterprise Stitch the Gap when she noticed that the knowledge of how to repair and repurpose clothes and fabric was no longer being passed down through the generations.

Seeing how ‘fast fashion’ was having a negative impact on her community, Patricia set out to make a difference and equip individuals with the skills to reduce, recycle, and repurpose their fabric.

Patricia reached out for help from Just Enterprise at the early stages of her idea development and was assisted by business adviser Brian McMillan. Brian took Patricia through the various legal structures and options available when setting up a social enterprise and helped Patricia identify which structure best suited Stich the Gap.

Most importantly for us was that he kept in touch and so we felt that he knew who we were and what we wanted to achieve as a social enterprise.

We caught up with Patricia to see how her social enterprise was getting on.

What was your inspiratino for setting up your social enterprise?

Our vision is to have a direct impact on climate change by equipping individuals with the sewing machine skills to reduce, recycle and repurpose fabric. By removing barriers to learning, we will empower individuals to learn new life skills, improve wellbeing, and increase employment opportunities for those marginalised by society.

What did you find most challenging?

Saying ‘No’ can be really hard especially as you just want to reach as many people as possible and have the biggest impact on your environment as possible.  Sometimes you see and recognise an opportunity within your community but you don’t have the resources to capitalise on it and so learning patience and timing is important.  Rushing in to meet a demand can sometimes prove costly if you get the initial set up and delivery wrong.  Learning to adapt to change in a way that impacts your audience and your enterprise is completely possible with the right support and planning. 

Any top tips for social entrepreneurs?

Talk about your idea or social enterprise to everyone.  Don’t be afraid to to gauge reaction to your idea and meet with other social entrepreneurs and enterprises as their drive and enthusiasm is contagious and you can learn such a lot from them.

What are your plans for the future of your social enterprise?

We want to build on this first year.  We want to develop our lending library of sewing machines and increase capacity and attendance to our classes so that we can reach even more people and ensure this lifelong skill can remain within our society