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Sew Positive to upcycle textile waste provided by Cambridge office fit-out specialist COEL

Sew Positive, the Cambridge sewing and repair charity, has partnered with COEL to find ways of reusing and upcycling sample fabrics for use in office and workspace interiors.

The charity helps people to learn to make, repair, mend, upcycle and repurpose clothes.

Melissa Santiago-Val, CEO of Sew Positive
Melissa Santiago-Val, CEO of Sew Positive

It also aims to build communities of like-minded people facing social exclusion, and those working with the charity have found how sewing can be calming, and improve mental health and wellbeing.

Now it has teamed up with Cambridge-based office fit-out and design specialist COEL to cut down textile waste, providing discontinued swatches and remnants from previous projects.

The company also hopes connect the charity with furniture companies that could provide off-cuts from its manufacturing processes.

Melissa Santiago-Val, CEO of Sew Positive, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with COEL on reducing corporate textile waste and reusing fabric samples across our climate change projects.

“We will be using these high-end beautiful offcuts and samples, teaching isolated communities to make lampshades, tote bags, textile art and patching.

“After COP26, there is an urgent need for everyone, including deprived communities, to feel empowered to make changes to textile waste that can impact climate change.

“Textile storage takes up huge amounts of space. As a small charity, we don't have room to store it, and we only take small amounts of fabrics we know we can use.

“These samples from COEL are truly fabulous pieces that will get snapped up at our workshops."

Textile waste is a significant challenge.

Oxfam suggests clothing, for example, has the fourth biggest environmental impact after housing, transport and food.

More than £140m of clothes are thrown away each year, most ending up in landfill.

And a third of clothes sent to UK landfill sites - worth £30bn or £4,000 per household - have not been worn for a year or more.

For more on Sew Positive, visit https://www.facebook.com/SewPositiveCharity/.

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