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The British Heart Foundation launches The Big Stitch

By Kirsty Brown

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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is calling on the people of Scotland to shop pre-loved and support its life saving research by taking part in The Big Stitch competition.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, many members of the public have been busy picking up new crafty hobbies, from upcycling furniture to giving a well-loved T-shirt an overhaul.

Now, launching on October 1, The Big Stitch will encourage people in Scotland to pop to their nearest charity shop, buy an item and use their skills and creativity to give it a new look.

With 76 clothes shops across Scotland, BHF shops are full of amazing pre-loved finds that can easily be adapted to personal style.

From fraying and tasselling to adding decorative items, simple basic sewing skills can add a touch of fashion flair and create one-of-a-kind items.

This year the BHF has teamed up with Hobbycraft to offer the perfect prizes for those taking part - the winner will be presented with a £100 gift card to spend at Hobbycraft stores, along with a hamper filled with £100 worth of arts and crafts essentials while runners up will be awarded Hobbycraft gift cards worth £50 and £25.

Every look shared on Instagram or Twitter with a before and after image tagging the BHF and using #TheBigStitch hashtag will be entered into a competition to win a prize.

All tagged images will also be showcased on the charity’s photo wall on its website.

From dresses to skirts and jeans to jumpers, BHF shops provide a wide range of quality clothing at affordable prices which help fund the BHF’s life saving research.

Stats released by the charity showed that almost a third (29 per cent) of consumers now feel that charity shops are more important to society than ever, while four in ten agree that being sustainable and thinking about the environment when they shop is more important than before.

Last year alone, thanks to shop donations, the BHF helped reuse an incredible 71,000 tonnes of items and prevented 135,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

Retail director at the BHF Allison Swaine-Hughes said: “We love seeing the creativity of our customers in Scotland, who never fail to impress us with the new looks they give to items they find in our shops.

"As well as being a fun way to get crafty, the Big Stitch helps us prevent waste and raise much needed funds for our vital heart research.

“This year has been devastating to the British Heart Foundation’s income and led to a possible £50 million cut in our research budget.

"As our shops reopened over summer with new safety measures in place, we’ve been delighted to welcome customers back and help provide high quality items at affordable prices.

"Every pound raised in our shops helps us to support the 720,000 people living with heart and circulatory diseases in Scotland, who need our support now more than ever.”

Customer director at Hobbycraft Katherine Paterson said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the British Heart Foundation’s The Big Stitch campaign this year.

"We saw the nation embrace crafting and creativity during lockdown, and The Big Stitch campaign is the perfect opportunity to put these new found skills to use and create something new from something old.

"In recent years we’ve seen a real increase in our customers becoming more environmentally conscious and embracing the make do and mend movement.

"Whether it’s fashion or homeware, adding a touch of colour, personalising or completely transforming an item to give it a new lease of life, we can really see our customers getting involved with this campaign and we’re excited to see what the nation creates from their pre-loved finds.”

Shoppers keen to begin their Big Stitch project can pop into their local BHF shop or head to the eBay shop to find items.

The Big Stitch competition will run from October 1 until October 31 2020 and by using the hashtag #TheBigStitch and tagging the BHF on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook participants will be automatically entered into the competition.

A winner will be selected and announced in November.

For more information and to find your nearest BHF shop, you canvisit www.bhf.org.uk/TheBigStitch

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