Charity’s creativity on show at Guildhall Fair

A unique range of woven textiles, wood crafts and ceramics created by a group of adults with learning disabilities will be available to purchase at this year’s Guildhall Craft Fair.

The Guildhall Craft Fair is one of the key events organised as part of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Christmas events and will take place in the historic Guildhall from Friday, November 23 until Sunday 25. Now in its 24th year, the event continues to be one of the most loved retail events in the run up to Christmas.

This year the organisers are delighted to showcase the amazing work created by members of the Camphill Community in Clanabogan, Omagh.

Their creations, which include woven textiles such as cushions, scarves, table runners and mats, tea towels and blankets, woven crafts including candle holders and bird holders as well as ceramic jewellery, bowls, clocks and mugs, are all made by hand in their workshop with all proceeds going back into their charity for investment in their workshop to purchase new materials and upgrade their work area.

Steven Patterson, PR & FR facilitator with the group says the Camphill Community are delighted to feature in this year’s Craft Fair and to be given the opportunity to showcase their talents to a new audience.

He said: “We are delighted to be taking part in the Guildhall Craft Fair and look forward to seeing the response from shoppers in the North West to our creations and designs. A lot of hard work and commitment has gone into creating our crafts for the event and we hope the public come along and support us.”

Phillipa McAleer, Weavery Work Co-Ordinator said that all the products made by the group are hand crafted in our day and work opportunities workshops.

She explained; “Everything we make is made by hand in our workshops using traditional techniques with some modern twists. All our raw materials are locally sourced using local indigenous wood and hand dyed locally spun sourced wool where possible. Each member of the group has varying levels of skills and is encouraged to put their own stamp on their creations and have a real input into their original pieces.

Steven said, “In the Day Opportunities workshops, people enjoy a fulfilling and meaningful day and are encouraged to develop their many skills through a variety of workshops including weavery, baking, woodwork, gardening and ceramics and our social care farm. We hope the audiences in the North West will appreciate the time, effort and commitment that has been put into these pieces and buying them for Christmas gifts in the run up to Christmas,” he said.

Camphill Community Clanabogan was first established in 1984 and offers a unique way of life in a sustainable life sharing community of 80 people providing care, day opportunities and support for adults with learning disabilities and associated needs. It is also home to 30 vulnerable adults who benefit from all the opportunities offered by the community while an additional number of people also attend the day opportunities service.

Helena Hasson, Event Co-Ordinator with Derry City and Strabane District Council says the addition of the Camphill Community Clanabogan in this year’s craft fair is a real coup for the organisers and a fantastic way to bring something new and unique to the fair. She said she is confident their craft work will be a huge hit with shoppers looking to get unique Christmas gifts.

This year’s Craft Fair runs from Friday (12 noon to 7pm), Saturday (10am – 6pm) and Sunday (11am – 6pm). Admission fee is £1 per adult and free for children under 14. The event will feature 45 craft stands on the upper floor of the Guildhall, and an artisan food hall in the ground floor with seven stands selling bespoke products and tasty treats.

For more information about the Craft Fair visit – www.derrystrabane.com/craftfair

The Craft Fair marks the start of the city’s Festive celebrations and details are available at www.derrystrabane.com/christmas