Since the first ReTweed graduates completed its 11-week fashion and textile course, run in the Eyemouth and District Disabled Association (Tedda) Centre, the number who have decided to start their own craft enterprises continues to grow.
Some 20 Berwickshire women have trained, and five from the most recent course have signed up for Business Gateway business start-up training with a view to developing their own craft enterprises.
As well as teaching the women skills that will help them either get a job or start their own business, ReTweed also aims to recycle textiles and reduce the amount of material going into landfill.
Founder Hazel Smith said: “We think that ReTweed has tremendous potential to resurrect the Borders’ heritage for textiles and fashion with a 21st century approach.”
The recent graduation ceremony was attended by Deirdre McKendry, business manager for Borders College and Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP Calum Kerr, who presented the women with their certificates.
“This is a terrific initiative,” said Deirdre. “The college is keen to make inroads to securing further education opportunities for Berwickshire, and ReTweed is an example of how we might help make that happen.”
ReTweed has now secured new premises in Eyemouth High Street, giving it a static workshop and retail space in the town’s main thoroughfare.
Training courses have so far been held at the Tedda Centre, currently run by the Connect Berwickshire Youth Project. Connect manager Steve Wright said: “Tuesday is a great time to be at Tedda.
“You are met by the humming sound of sewing machines and a feeling that the people using them are really enjoying what they are doing.”
The project is aiming to develop new product lines which showcase Berwickshire’s maritime and textiles history and increase heritage tourism to the area.