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Meet fairandfunky and friends!

It’s new start to the school year for many so we thought it would be a good time to launch our new series of blogs: Meet fairandfunky and friends! Each week we’ll introduce people who we work with and who inspire us, asking them to share little bits of information about themselves and how they take little steps to change the world.

It’s seems right to start the blog series off by introducing ourselves! For those of you that don’t know fairandfunky was established in 2012 by us: Helen and Sophie. We met when we worked on a project for Holmfirth Arts Festival when we put 5 pianos in the streets of Holmfirth! All decorated on global themes: Fairtrade, recycling and the environment. We loved working together and inspiring people to look at the world around them a little differently……fairandfunky was born. But who are we and what brought us here? It’s time to find out! First up is Sophie:

Who are you, where are you from and what do you do? I am Yorkshire born and bred, with a brief guest appearance in Sunderland followed by London for university purposes, where I studied Fine Art. I have always had a passion for creativity, and although nowadays I absolutely would not describe myself as an artist, I am able to express my creativity through fairandfunky’s recycling workshops. As well as my fairandfunky hat, I also wear the hat of assistant Scout leader at 1st Holme Valley Scouts. I love the outdoors, and am passionate about not only conserving, but enjoying our natural environments. As a Scout leader, it’s important to me to have the opportunity to inspire and pass this knowledge and passion on to the next generation of change-makers.

What makes you a fairandfunky friend? Since being very young, my thought pattern was not “why should I take action? One person can’t make a difference” but instead, “if I don’t, who will?” I have always been on a mission to inspire positive change – it doesn’t always have to be doom and gloom, but being empowered and motivated to take action that has an impact on people and planet, be that big or small, every action counts! Walking the talk – that’s what makes me a fairandfunky friend.

What little steps do you take to change the world? I believe that as individuals we each have the power to make a positive difference in the world; through the way we act, what we wear, where we shop and what we do. These actions occur every single day: from simple at-home recycling, to using a reusable coffee cup; from refusing a carrier bag, to using refillable washing up liquid, shampoo, bath bubbles (and the rest!). All of these little steps are easily incorporated in to my routines, but I also actively look for ways I can more simple steps into my lifestyle. For example, I love to sit down at the sewing machine and create. Often, sewing as a hobby can generate a great deal of waste in fabric offcuts, so I have been looking to ways at reducing my waste by incorporating zero waste methods in to my sewing practice, and any waste that is generated (currently, less and less!) is put aside to use as stuffing, rag rugs or pocket linings (man, I love a pocket). I also research the sustainability of the fabrics I source for my projects, and often use remnants and deadstock fabrics, although there is a very valid debate about if using deadstock deters big fashion companies from cutting down on their waste. Many of my friends will also attest to the fact that I love a good charity shop hunt for second hand textiles – I have previously made a raincoat from a splashproof table cloth, a dungaree dress from a pair of curtains and am currently working on a tea-towel dress, to name a few of my sewing projects! It’s possible that the fairandfunky mantra “Don’t throw it away, make something” has rubbed off on me?

Who influences or inspires you? And why? I know how cliché this sounds, but I am inspired every single day in my work. There is absolutely no other feeling better than seeing everything click in to place for the young people we work with: when they tell us of the changes they are going to make after taking part in our workshops; when they declare “that’s not fair!” after learning about farmers in underdeveloped countries; when they sit and quietly craft for hours and we’re told by teachers or parents “they never engage with arts and crafts”. I love my job, and the young people make it so.

How do you inspire others to take little steps to change the world? I think it’s clear by now that I have passion for what I do. Through my actions every day I hope to inspire others to make a difference, and we can all do that: lead by example. Not only that, but talking openly and honestly is vitally important if we want to inspire change. Having conversations every day about how we can influence and drive positive change at every level, both locally and globally. I am a fan of getting things done, and of people who take action, and that all starts with talking about how we’re going to take little steps to change the world. Want to talk about putting the world to rights? I’ll put the kettle on.

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