Teapot Course - Connect, Keep Learning, Give
Talking about tea helped bring together women from the very different locations of Russia, Libya, the Congo and Norwich to share stories and spend time with each other.
Residents of Bedale, Norwich, who had mental health problems wanted to get together and support one another. They also wanted to have some local opportunities for ‘meaningful activities'. The first part of this project involved a group of women joining a Skills for Life course hosted by Norwich Castle. Tea quite quickly became the main topic of conversation as all were familiar with tea drinking and the ceremonies that go with it, as well as designing and painting their own teapots. Sharon Chitambala, from the Congo, has been in Norwich about two years and her teapot featured a Congolese flower and a handprint from her daughter. The 33-year-old said: “I enjoyed it very much and I made a lot of new friends. Norwich is very different to where I come from, but I like it and my neighbours have been very kind.”
Local volunteers are key to the continued success of this project - they are involved in the delivery of sessions through to being members of the committee that oversees the running of workcrafts sessions.
Workshops have extended out to a number of different areas such as woodwork, painting and sewing, aiming to meet the needs of the local community. The project has tried to find suitable outlets for selling participants' products, but this has been difficult. However, the project grows in strength with new volunteers engaging and helping with promotion by word of mouth.
Unabridged version: Teapot Course
15 September 2011