Residents in Knaresborough were sad to see Green Dragon Crafts, a shop that sold gifts and cards, some made by people with learning disabilities, close its doors in Castlegate.
Green Dragon Crafts was a volunteer-run enterprise consisting of the shop and a community association which ran a craft based social club for people with learning disabilities as well as craft workshops for children, people with learning disabilities and the wider community.
The organisation was founded by Kathy Allday, who wanted to support her daughter Aimee, who has Down’s Syndrome and needed an outlet to sell her hand made cards and gifts.
Kathy also wanted to help prevent local people with learning disabilities from being socially isolated and so set up The Saturday Club for young adults with learning disabilities who love arts and crafts and meet alternate weekends in Knaresborough library.
Kathy and the Green Dragon Crafts Community Association committee decided to fold the organisation at the end of October.
Kathy was often struggling to manage the shop, do most of the admin, run and organise craft workshops and the Saturday Club as well as support Aimee and her disabled mother. Several health scares prompted Kathy to look at ways to reduce her commitments while keeping the core activities still going.
But by the end of October The Saturday Club will be relaunched with its own committee which will include members with learning disabilities. Kathy, with the help of volunteers, old and new alike will continue to run The Saturday Club on alternate Saturdays but with renewed energy and lots of new ideas for projects including working collaboratively with organisations such as The Cando project.
From Monday, October 26, the Saturday Club will be holding a week-long exhibition in the children’s section of Knaresborough Library.
Kathy continues to work with Yuet Tsang, who makes hand crafted jewellery which was sold in Green Dragon Craft’s shop. Yuet and Kathy are now running craft fairs together in Knaresborough and beyond.
Their first joint venture will be a Craft Fair at the Centre on Gracious street (COGS) in Knaresborough on Saturday, October 24, from 12.30pm until 4pm.
They will be hoping to raise funds for the Saturday Club, Ruth House (a home for people with learning disabilities in Shipton in Beningbrough) and Interact (a Harrogate based dance, drama and music group for people with learning disabilities).
The craft fair will have 14 stalls, comprising Yuet’s jewellery, Aimee’s Creative Hands, Victorian Knaresborough pictures and souvenirs, a tuck shop, tombola and a wide selection of Christmas cards and gifts at tempting prices – all made by local skilled artisans.
Kathy would like to thank all her volunteers and the local community without whose support this would not have been possible.