The Handmade for Hope pilot program commenced in early 2020 working with clients to create handcrafts for the local market. Operating out of Orca place, the project was intended to support ICCS clients in their trajectory towards independence through learning artisan skills, small scale business management and – most importantly – the soft skills of confidence and of connections with the community through volunteers and local artists. Through volunteer-led training, program participants gain hands-on skills in art and crafting. Revenues from product sales are re-invested into project inputs, with a small proportion distributed directly to program participants as a milestone of success.
Handmade for Hope relies on incredible support from community volunteers to make various handmade items and teach program participants how to make items independently.
Participants learn key skills in crafting and learn to sell these items online and through community markets and ‘pop-up’ shops. Even more, they gain the confidence of creation and success – for hope.
As Handmade for Hope has become incredibly successful, we have opted to put a pause on the program at Orca Place. This pause is intended to allow us time to evaluate the program and assess means to scale the program allowing access to these key skills to all our Supportive Housing Programs. At the same time, a new Lifeskills for Community Connection program has launched across all ICCS programs, which will provide other key skills and learning for program residents ready to move forward to connection and independence.
Inventory can still be purchased at the Nanaimo Bakery (2025 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo) and donations of inventory to the program are still being accepted. Thank you for your support of this program over the years, and watch for more updates!
To learn more about the impacts of Handmade for Hope programming on clients at Orca Place, check out this story by BC housing: Orca Place residents learn new skills (https://www.bchousing.org/news/community-stories/orca-place-residents-learn-new-skills)