Granada TV appearance for local hero spreading festive cheer


A highlight of the Granada TV’s festive calendar is the Granada Reports Advent Calendar of local heroes. Every day in December they open a door of the Calendar to meet someone who has gone above and beyond in what has been a difficult year.

On December 13th they opened the door to inspirational WEA tutor Taslima Ahmad and the Founder & Creative Director of Creative Design & Manufacture UK (CDM UK), a textile training facility in Manchester, delivering hand processed textile manufacturing skills training through interactive, creative craft based workshops to local women. 

Taslima’s love of textiles started as a young girl, leading her to study textiles at university and a career as a designer, before she launched CDM UK as a way of reconnecting other Manchester residents with the city’s textile heritage, in particular women and children from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds, and people who have experienced domestic abuse. With support from the WEA, Taslima has delivered classes to over 2,000 school children, and run regular workshops and projects helping women gain skills in producing high-quality textiles. 

During lockdown, Taslima distributed sewing machines to women and students across the city and ran online textile training sessions, which included helping people make their own masks.

The creative hand and machine sewing workshops enabled women to make something useful and helped people’s mental health while being stuck at home. Taslima wanted to teach people to make things that are relevant during the pandemic. So, in addition to teaching people how to make various craft based items, Taslima also taught them how to make scrub bags and masks made of cotton fabric, which are breathable, washable and reusable. 

Once made, Taslima then supplied hundreds of these scrub bags to local hospitals and doctor surgeries and the masks to churches, mosques, community groups, local charities totally free of charge. 

This also made the women who made them feel part of something, and that they were contributing towards tackling the pandemic and helping the NHS which made them feel really good about themselves.   

The Granada TV crew were shown around the mill where Taslima works and observed her ‘sewing for employment’ classes taking part, they spoke to the learners many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, impressed with the journey they had been on. The impactful courses have empowered the women with motivation, skills and confidence to use their sewing machines to earn money, improve life skills and break cycles of poverty.

Taslima Ahmed said:  “It was a delight to welcome Granada TV to our workshop. As someone with dyslexia and autism, I fully recognise that everyone learns differently but these women can all achieve great things.  It is quite humbling to have the opportunity to help these incredibly resilient women, who are our heroes and inspiration.”

Watch the full piece here