“The connection with creativity, and new friendships, have changed my life” - GMMH and homelessness charity team up on fashion upcycling project | Press Releases

“The connection with creativity, and new friendships, have changed my life” - GMMH and homelessness charity team up on fashion upcycling project

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) and Emmaus, the charity working at ending homelessness, have joined forces on an ‘Arts for Good Health’ project.

The Reworx course, led by Mia Nisbet, Wellbeing Arts Tutor at GMMH’s Recovery Pathways service, uses surplus second-hand clothes provided by Emmaus, to upcycle and redesign into fashion products, which are then donated back to Emmaus to sell in their charity shop to help raise funds for homelessness.

The course supports GMMH service users to improve their mental health and wellbeing by connecting with others, learning new creative design skills, and contributing towards a shared charitable goal.

The project also aims to help the environment and reduce harmful textile waste, by promoting the practice of recycling, repurposing, and engaging in a no-waste circular economy.

Wellbeing Arts Tutor, Mia Nisbet, has many years of experience working as an Ethical Fashion Designer and was awarded the Ethical Fashion Sustainability award in 2009 for her efforts in creating collections from upcycling waste textiles; awarded by the Ethical Fashion Forum in collaboration with the British Fashion Council. Mia said:

Mia Nisbet

“People’s wellbeing – and the wellbeing of the planet - are at the heart of Reworx’s ethos.

“The project fosters links with the community, promotes mental wellbeing through the engagement in creative activity, and reduces social isolation by connecting those participating in the project.

“It also helps to reduce waste that is harmful to the environment. This is because textile waste generates greenhouse methane gas during decomposition and leaks toxic chemicals and dyes into the groundwater and soil, which can have a catastrophic effect on the environment. By up-cycling and re-working old textiles into new one-of-a kind fashion items for people to use and love, we are helping to break this cycle.”

The first pilot of the Reworx project ran from May to October 2022. Service users on the course were taught to transform old denim clothes into up-cycled patchwork bags.  

The course was received brilliantly by the participants.

Service user, Tammy, who took part in Reworx said:

“Before I started attending the Reworx course I spent most my time isolated at home.

“The group has helped me form new lasting friendships and build my creative confidence.

“Through attending the group, I have also been introduced to another community peer-led textiles group, Makers Meet, that I now attend on a weekly basis.

“I feel connected with my community and have found a passion for creating textiles at home. The connection with creativity, and new friendships, have changed my life.” 


The up-cycled patchwork bags are now displayed and on sale in Emmaus’ charity shop floor in St. Andrews Church, Wythenshawe.

Mia has now started running a second Reworx course, located at START, Cornbrook Enterprise Centre, Hulme; and another three courses are scheduled to run throughout 2023.

For enquiries regarding attending the Arts For Good Health Reworx course, please contact Recovery Pathways via email referrals.recoverypathways@gmmh.nhs.uk or telephone 07436 560917. For more information about Recovery Pathways, visit: www.gmmh.nhs.uk/recovery-pathways.

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