Zoe Featured

My Journey Begins, by Zoe Smith

When I first started coming along to the group, I had no idea what was in store for us. All I was looking for was somewhere to take my little girl to socialise and let her play alongside other kids around her age. I started attending back in November, just as the group was making Halloween costumes.

When I came along, the first thing that struck me was how great the atmosphere was. Everyone was lovely and welcoming, and so understanding of the fear of meeting or getting to know new people. This can be especially difficult if you suffer from depression or anxiety, as I did. Thanks to how helpful and supportive everyone was, it didn’t take long to feel like part of the group.

Within a few of weeks, we had all finished our Hallowe’en costumes and were planning a photo shoot to show off our finished pieces. How amazing is that? To go from not knowing anyone to doing all this amazing stuff within a few weeks, all while socialising our kids!

After Hallowe’en, we moved onto the Christmas block where we made matching pyjamas for us and our kids. Just a few weeks before, I’d probably spend my Wednesday evenings in the house with Tilly, but now we are getting out, learning new skills and not only that – doing all of it with our children by our sides. We were truly able to show that having kids doesn’t have to hold you back.

In early 2018, we found out that we had made the finals of The People’s Projects, and could be awarded up to £50,000 of lottery funding following a public vote. This came as quite the shock to most of us, but we thought it was a fantastic opportunity to go and do everything we could to get the public on our side. We had stalls in The Wellgate where we gave out items we had made to expecting parents, we had balloons, we had face painting – anything we could do to get a bit of publicity.

When the voting opened, we were featured on STV and in all the local and national papers. We grouped together and pestered our friends, family and anyone else who would listen on social media to vote for our little project…and we won! We were awarded £34,488 of National Lottery funding, which has opened up so many doors for us.

A few members of the group were given the opportunity to become official volunteers, and have already been on trips down to England with their kids to learn some new skills which will be passed on to the rest of the group.

I could write for days about how this group has changed me and Tilly’s life. I feel empowered by what I have learned, we have made new friends, and we just want to share our experience with everyone. The most important point to understand is that you don’t have to put your dreams on hold just because you have a child. Everything I have done with Kindred Clothing has been with Tilly at my side, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.