Skylark IX Recovery Project carves out success with Summer Activities Programme

We’re thrilled to celebrate the success of our first full summer programme of free activities for adults and children across West Dunbartonshire.

Inspired by the survival, resilience and wartime service of the ‘Dunkirk Little Ship’ Skylark IX at the heart of our Project, we ran a series of Wood Whittling and Make Do and Mend sessions.

The summer activities, which also included sessions for young people for the first time, were held at different venues to reach as many participants as possible.

Those attending ranged from 6 – 47 years of age and came from areas including Dumbarton East, Lomondgate, Helensburgh, Cardross and Castlehill.

The day-long, outdoors wood whittling events for young people aged 10 – 16 years of age took place in den areas built by the Skylark team at Knowetop Horticultural project space in Castlehill and the bike trails in Bellsmyre, Bellsmyre Development Trust.



Working with wood whittling and woodcraft expert Jason Fearnley, the young people learned how to whittle spoons before playing games in the sun and toasting marshmallows.




We also ran five Make Do and Mend workshops for young people and their parents/guardians at The Phoenix Centre in Castlehill throughout July and August.

Over 70 participated in the workshops which were led by the team and textile expert and historian Suzanne Marshall-Smith. Everyone learned how to make a range of everyday items from coasters and scrunchies to decorative wall hangings.









During three Make Do and Mend workshops for adults, participants took inspiration from the Turkey Red prints made famous in the historic textile industries of the Vale of Leven. They looked at ways to upcycle and recycle clothes, practicing cutting paper patterns, sewing, embroidery and printmaking.

Jade West, Volunteer Co-ordinator at the Skylark IX Recovery Project, explains:

“We are thrilled with the overwhelming response to our first full summer programme of activities which was also the first time we have reached out to young people in the area.

“So many participants told us how much they and their young people benefited from getting out and learning new arts and crafts skills. One young girl was even inspired to become a designer and another to make scrunchies to sell for charity!

“In particular, participants told us there is a very real need for learning and social activities for adults in the area. They want activities like Make Do and Mend which help them connect with others and make new friends as well as build confidence and skills to help in everyday life.

“We’re now busy looking for funding to try and make this possible.”

  • Photos : Wood Whittling : Left to Right: Kyle Evans, Jevan O’Conner and Ryan Sanderson; Left to Right: Demi Gaze and Kaleb Mbise / Make Do and Mend : Left to Right: Isla Kelly and Sophie Kelly; Roque Hernandez Fernandez
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