Donna Howell first heard about Makers HQ, a textiles manufacturing studio in Plymouth, when she was looking for somewhere to get a pattern printed. Howell had given up her job supporting students with additional needs to be a stay-at-home mum to her two sons. By last year, the boys were aged six and nine and Howell was wondering what she could do with the rest of her life. She had a degree in fine art, but she wanted to be able to make things. When she saw that Makers HQ offered training courses for people in her position, she immediately applied.

“It’s completely turned my life around,” Howell says, not long after completing the eight-week course, where she learnt how to construct a garment and sew on a machine. The training, which is accredited by ABC Awards, is offered free to people who are unemployed or inactive with funding from the European Social Fund, which supports employment in EU member states.

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