From April 2022, SWEF has held a Bursary Fund that SWEF members can apply to for small grants of maximum £2500 to fund, or part-fund projects that further the fibreshed mission in the South West and nationwide. The Bursary will be open for applications for as long as there are funds in it, and will operate on a first come, first served basis for members who have been subscribed for 6 months or more.
The goal of this fund is to strengthen the South West England Fibreshed mission of building a regional fibre, textile and fashion economy that is regenerative and nourishing – for us, our communities and our biosphere. In many cases even just a small grant can help catalyse a new idea, which in turn will provide an opportunity for learning or inspiration that will benefit the wider membership and more.
Examples of what the Fund will support:
- Research of benefit to the wider membership e.g. supply chains, fibre processing, fixtures and fittings
- Innovations in natural fibre value chain
- Education and awareness raising activities that raise the profile of natural fibres, regional processing and soil to soil design
- Professional development or training specifically in relation to working with natural fibres or dyes
- Collaborative product development with other SWEF members
- Participation in relevant events / conferences
What it will not fund
- Projects of purely commercial interest to the applicant
- Training in general business skills
- Website development
- Workshop materials
- Equipment for private use
Members are not asked to provide financial reporting on the Bursary in detailed expenditure terms, however in receiving the Bursary members commit to complete the proposed project within the specified period and, on completion, to share its outcomes in the following ways:
- Present the project to other SWEF members.
- Write a short blog for the SWEF website.
- Provide content for SWEF social media.
Examples of funded projects
Research project to identify and offer a colour palette of 5 native plant dyes for SWEF members to work with to scale up the dyeing of their own collections, with lower cost natural dye sources, best dye colour outcomes and native local colours which are easy to source as powders and work with in commercial dye facilities. OUTPUTS PENDING
2022, Micro-Tannery Feasibility Study – Loopy Ewes and Great Cotmarsh Farm
A feasibility study to inform the viability of setting up a micro-tannery. The result is a report that plans the tanning process, as well as assessing set up costs, staffing and training requirements, throughput, and potential revenue. See here.
2022, South West Colour Library – Ria Burns Knitwear
A survey and catalogue of natural dye plants found around the SW Fibreshed region, to produce a library of dye and fibre samples to showcase the region’s colour potential, in the form of both a digital and physical sample book. OUTPUTS PENDING
2022, ‘Accessible Fibreshed’ – Jade Ogden from Hand Loom Room,
This project introduced people with learning disabilities to Fibreshed and engage them with thinking about their own wardrobes, reducing textile waste and protecting biodiversity through the development and delivery of a suite of Easy Read resources that describe Fibreshed in an accessible way for people with learning disabilities, as well as others who may have literacy challenges, including people for whom English is not their first language. The Easy Read resources are now downloadable from our Publications page, and see Jade’s blog post on the project here.