Friday, 10 December 2010

Cambridge Creates Christmas

CCC shopfront: a welcoming winter sight
As the great and fearful day approaches, it's increasingly likely that you'll find yourself running about looking for a last-minute present that you forgot - or, if you're anything like me, starting your Christmas shopping.

In Cambridge, a group of locally-based charities have gotten together to open an outlet in Fitzroy Street, near the Grafton Centre. They stock Fairtrade goods sourced from sustainable sources aqnd, in the case of, eg FLACK, goods made by the communities whom the charity serves. (Flack is the successor to the Willow Walker, which was a magazine produced for and by homeless people in Cambridge.)

So why not pop into Cambridge Creates Christmas on Fitzroy Street for something unexpected, possibly so unexpected that it's exactly right? Here are the charities that are represented:

go to Cambridge Link-Up's websiteCambridge Link-Up is a business run by presently and formerly homeless and vulnerably-housed people who believe that a hand-up is better than a handout. They believe that homeless people are a massively untapped resource of skills, creativity, knowledge and experience able to contribute positively to their community. (Their unique tealight-holders have been selling like hotcakes - check them out while you can!)

go to Cards from Africa's websiteCards from Africa is part of the vanguard of a new generation of African businesses, and is based in Rwanda - they have a well-stocked rack in Cambridge Creates Christmas, and their story is well worth checking out.

go to FLACK's websiteYou've just read a mention of FLACK; some of the critically-lauded artwork coming out of this remarkable publishing venture and social enterprise is available in the 2011 FLACK Calendar, available at Cambridge Creates Christmas and from select retailers.

go to Jimmy's websiteJimmy's Night Shelter is based in Zion Baptist Church on the city's East Road; it's named in memory of Jim Dilley, and its logo is a representation of the motorway bridge that served so often as the roof over his head. It's a popular place to volunteer - their 2011 calendar is available at the shop.

click to go to Samamba's homepageDenise from Samamba was the organising force behind Cambridge Creates Christmas. She is part of a family business based in Cambridge and Thailand which produces hand-made jewellery, clothes and accessories. Samamba's brightly-coloured creations help make the shopfront look so inviting on a cold winter's evening, as you can see from the pic at the top of the page, and add fun to the proceedings.

Wintercomfort offers basic amenities, education and recreation to people who are homeless or at risk of losing their housing. They produce high-quality, hand-woven willow coffins which you can ask about at Cambridge Creates Christmas.

So - whether you're buying for somebody who believes that charity begins at home, or who likes to look a little further afield (or any point between) - if you're looking for something special that weighs lightly on your conscience, pop along to Cambridge Creates Christmas!

And if you haven't had a look at any of the webistes yet but would like to, click on any of the logos on the pic from Jimmy's homepage below. Happy travels!

click to go to Cards for Africa
click to go to Samamba
click to go to Cambridge Link-Up
click to go to Jimmy's Night Shelter
click to go to Flack
click to go to Wintercomfort for the Homeless

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