Common Thread is a non-profit society offering training and employment in sewing and craft to people with social and work barriers. Our goal is to provide our program participants with work skills that will enable them to generate income, and to offer social engagement opportunities where they can feel valued for their skills and experience rather than judged because of their mental health barriers.
In addition to offering support to individuals, our programs address a skills shortage in the local manufacturing industry and contribute to the city's zero-waste goal by using repurposed fabric and crafting materials. Once our participants acquire the skills, we support them in either finding employment outside Common Thread, or by integrating them into our own production programs. We have three programs:
• Crafting program for people with complex multiple barriers who are not able to work regularly. This program focuses on social engagement through craft making. Items created in this program are sold online and at local markets, generating supplemental income for the participants.
• Industrial sewing, domestic sewing and alterations training program. The focus of this program is to provide the participants with work skills and to help them find employment. In addition to sewing skills, program participants also learn basic financial literacy.
• Sewing production program, where we employ those of our training program graduates who are not able to work in a more conventional environment. The program participants sew a wide range of items for customers, but their hours are flexible, to accommodate the challenges presented by their social and work barriers.
Our approach to skills training and employment has demonstrated that having additional income, as well as a supportive environment where our program participants are valued rather than judged consistently leads to greater financial stability, improved health outcomes, and an increased sense of social connectedness. Together these results benefit not only the individuals but also the community.
"I have been working with Common Thread for the past four years. It was important to me as a business owner to make sure that my company supports people with employment barriers. Their craftsmanship and skills are amazing. All of my customers are impressed and very much value the work that has been put into the items that are made at Common Thread. I am so grateful to be able to support my local community and know that much love and care is put into my products." (Blingja Concepts)