In our society today mental health is something that is dominantly focused upon, but is still in some cases over looked, and while many people wish to help those who struggle with psychological issues, many fail.
Stacey Suter is one of the few people in today’s society who was willing to dedicate her spare time to helping those who need it, by opening a non-profitable craft and coffee club known as ‘Suter’s Crafts and Cuppa’ in Cardiff. Stacey says her inspiration to create the club came about, “when I was volunteering for CHAT Education. CHAT is run by a lovely couple who teach people who have mental health conditions four simple coping tools.”
Stacey was introduced into the complicated world of mental health when her mother was diagnosed back in 2008 as bipolar, but through CHAT Stacy was also able to meet some brilliant people who also suffered with various mental health conditions. “When mum got diagnosed with her condition, the doctors explained that she was unable to work due to stress, which may trigger mum into having a manic episode. I used to feel guilty that myself, my dad and brother would have work during the week and that mum was all alone at home.” This is when she got the idea of a mid-week club for her mother to attend to break up her week, get her out of the house and socialising with people with a similar lonely lifestyle.
Originally back in 2012 Stacey booked a Community Centre in Caerphilly on a Wednesday morning, designed some flyers and handed them out to people around Caerphilly and to the people who attended the CHAT workshops. Now just last month, on Wednesday 5th October Stacey opened Suter’s Craft and Cuppa in Cardiff. “I had it in my head after starting the Caerphilly club that it would be amazing to branch out, so I took that leap to open one in Rhiwbina after recently visiting the village and falling in love with it. The shops and cafes there are also really unique.” The club now gathers once a week on a Wednesday, for crafts, refreshments and just a genuine chatter amongst people who suffer from mental health or may just be lonely. “Our crafters that attend bring their own personal projects along with them to do whilst at the club. We have people who crochet, knit, make cards, scrap book, beading, we have a lady making a bath mat from hessian material.” Stacey goes on to tell us how in 2012 her mother taught her how to crochet. “Mum taught me how to crochet when we first started the club in 2012, but it takes me ages to make one square. We did share a project where we had to make roughly 50 small granny squares and then crochet them all together to make one big massive square blanket. I was too slow making the small squares, so mum ended up crocheting at least 45 of them, and it took me about 3 years to complete crocheting them all together.”
Suter’s Craft and Cuppa welcomes anyone and everyone who isn’t working on a Wednesday, such as stay at home mums, the retired, or people off long term sick. “We had one gentleman come along as he was lonely after losing his wife, he brought his own paper mache project along with him to make.” Stacey informed me of her love for the people who attend her club and the crafts they create, as she loves seeing the variety of colours used and ideas that are brought to life. She also informed me of the pride that she is filled with when meeting people who attend, and for being brave enough to take the leap of faith, and start the club. “I’ve now been able to attend the club more often recently due to becoming self-employed. Both myself and mum love running the club.” The atmosphere created is a warm friendly one that is very inviting to those who may be suffering from mental health or loneliness.
Stacey started to tell me a moving story about a young girl, who cared full-time for her nan, who attended the club “I cried one time as a young girl plucked up the courage to come along, even though she didn’t have anything to do and was a little nervous as she didn’t know what to expect. She thanked me for the club, she explained it got her out of the house and gave her the opportunity to do something for herself as she is a full-time carer for her nan. It was such a proud moment, I felt it was worth every second I had put into arranging the club. My mum sat by the young girl on her first time and taught her how to crochet, now there’s no stopping her, she now makes scarfs, hats, gloves and blankets.”
Stacey’s dedication and belief towards Suter’s Crafts and Cuppa is incredibly inspiring. To think that one person can give up so much time to help those who really need it, and gain nothing in return but the satisfaction that people, once lonely and miserable, are now bonding with others and making friendship, memories and a crochet blanket or two.
Canolfan Beulah Church Community Centre, Rhiwbina 13:00 15:00 every Wednesday. £3.00 for entry and refreshments.
Facebook: Suters Craft and Cuppa Club