Material girl scoops heritage award for work that brings community together with creativity

Material girl – Taslima Ahmed – has been given a National Lottery Heritage award for her work in bringing communities together with creativity and manufacturing.

Taslima runs CDM UK (Creative Design & Manufacture) – a not for profit based in a mill in Ardwick – and is delighted the organisation’s work has been recognised with the award that celebrates outstanding work in museum, heritage and cultural organisations.

She said: “This place is a magical place for women and children, we work with diversity and intergeneration – from three to 85. 

“If you came in here and you didn’t observe their age and just sat back, you would think they were all teenagers. Doing things by hand is really important, it helps to retain your memory, and you just get lost in it. 

“When people haven’t been able to come in of late, we went straight on to Zoom and not only that we gave machines away, to help our women and children, stuck in their home.

“We also started to make scrubs and scrub bags for the hospitals, we were like machines, supplying face masks to the children’s hospice, and selling masks to raise funds for Crisis, helping the homeless at Christmas. It is almost like you were at war trying to protect the NHS.”

CDM’s aim is to help improve mental health and wellbeing challenges, through knitting, croquet, screen printing, block printing, hand paint and many more creative outlets, for all communities.

Taslima, who lives with dyslexia and autism, feels these conditions help her to see things others may not.

She added: “The whole space is an Aladdin’s cave of colours and fabrics, a wonderful place to explore and immerse yourself into and help your mental health and wellbeing.

“And the act of being involved with supporting others through covid has helped people escape the worries and concerns they face, the frightening future they fear due to loss of work and income, the risk of homelessness.

“Working in the mill is a pleasant distraction for many, with a welcoming environment that facilitates for different communities to join together for a good cause.”

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