Families Out Loud (FOL) Volunteer Barbara Pearce recently won the Women’s Institute Design and Make a Tote Bag Competition. Not in my Name, in support of White Ribbon Day, was open to women across England, Wales and the Islands, raising awareness of the need to end violence against women. 30 bags were entered, and one judge described Barbara’s winning entry as “The bag construction is absolutely superb. The finish is second to none. A really impressive piece.” Everyone at FOL is extremely proud of Barbara whose sewing and crafting skills are second to none.


Barbara’s Journey with FOL

In 2020 Barbara was getting support from FOL when she thought it would be a good idea to raise money for our cause by sewing face masks. They proved to be very popular, raising over £1000 for the charity! In January 2021, Barbara became even more determined to help us raise funds and started spending about three days a week making other high-quality items like women’s bags, accessories and knitwear which are sold at craft markets across Wiltshire. Today she is constantly trying out new ideas, always interested in making on-trend products to add flair and interest to our stalls – the latest of which is children’s reading cushions (above) which are selling like hot-cakes. To support her own creativity, Barbara even converted one of her bedrooms into a sewing room, and another into a cutting room!

Barbara’s hard work and sheer tenacity has been instrumental in allowing Families Out Loud Trustees and Committee to develop a craft market self-funding initiative which helps to support the sustainability and future growth of our charity. We are now lucky to have several more Volunteer Makers who provide an even wider variety of goods at market. This year the charity’s craft stall fundraising efforts have continued apace, as we have attended 11 stalls across the county. These events allow us to raise money and, crucially, to raise our profile across the communities that we serve.

Barbara Pearce is a truly inspirational lady whose skill and dedication has astounded us all. Not only has her work raised thousands of pounds for Families Out Loud, but in winning this amazing award, she admirably represents our Values of Listen, Care, Be Practical and Show Determination. Well done Barbara!