Grant Will Breathe Creativity Into The Community

15 February 2012

Voice of Congolese Women

Mado Nyota and Betty Phoba- Voice of the Congolese Women.

A new series of sewing and art workshops designed to reach isolated women and children in the Derby community is to be launched by 'Voice of Congolese Women', after the group, working in partnership with the University of Derby's Community Relations team, won a £2,500 grant.

Information events, where people can find out more about the free workshops, are taking place from 12 - 4pm on 17 and 24 February at Pear Tree Library, on Pear Tree Road, and on 18 and 25 February at Fairdene Court, off Lower Dale Road.

This latest community initiative follows on from a busy 2010/11 which saw Voice of Congolese Women and the University's Community Relations team running over 100 workshops between August 2010 and December 2011.

The £2,500 funding will enable this work to continue and has been awarded by the Derbyshire Community Foundation, a supporter of Voice of Congolese Women and the first organisation that recognised the innovative nature of the work that they do.

Betty Phoba, Chair of Voice of Congolese Women, said: "The community spaces that we work within enable us to bring people from different faiths and ethnicities together.

"Here they have a safe place where they can make new friends, learn from each other, share different views and have fun. We're delighted to have been awarded the grant and be able to run the programme of sewing and art workshops, which I know will bring huge enjoyment to everyone who takes part."

Peter Walker, Community Relations Officer at the University of Derby, added: "We place a great importance on the work that we do within the Derby community and are always looking at ways in which we can reach out, involve and support its members.

"This year we will be collaborating with a number of different organisations in Derby to deliver a programme of workshops and events that are designed to engage with members of the community."

Materials are provided for all workshops, which are free to join and open to all. Sewing classes start on 2 March (12 - 4pm) and art classes on 23 March (12 - 4pm). Both will run weekly until July 2012, with a break over Easter.

During the sewing workshops there will be an opportunity to make garments using traditional African techniques, whilst also having fun and sharing food. The art workshops are being run by Rita Kappia, an experienced community artist, and are designed to help participants think about their lives through art.

The University of Derby's Community Relations team works with a number of partners, including the Derbyshire Community Foundation, Community Action, Women's Work, Women's Centre, Hadhari Nari and Global Education Derby, to deliver a series of workshops and events aimed at the more isolated members of the community.

A number of different faiths and ethnicities are represented - Iraqi, Pakistani, West Indian and other African people from Libya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, as well as the Congolese and other locals. All are welcome.

For further information on the sewing and art workshops visit the information events or email Peter Walker on

For more information please contact Deputy Head of Corporate Relations Rosie Marshalsay on 01332 591942 or 07920 235 586, or email

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