A NEW arts and crafts club is proving a big hit with a Flintshire community.

Sandycroft Arts & Craft Club was formed by three local women, Dorothy Smith, Barbara Bold and Maureen Baker after they visited an arts and craft club in Chester.

And that led to the crafty ladies thinking they could offer something similar in their own community.

Now their new club meets between 1.30 and 3.30pm every Friday at Sandycroft Community Centre and is proving a real hit with residents.

And a maximum £250 grant from Sandycroft Community Council means the club got off to the best possible start.

Dorothy Smith, who is a water colour artist, says the club is proving to be a success but isn’t just about arts and crafts but getting people out their homes and meeting up for a chat over a coffee or cup of tea.

She said: “Anyone can attend and so far we are getting around 15 regulars but would love to see more. It’s a real opportunity to get out of the house away from your own four walls and meet up with others. It’s a great way to make new friends.”

Maureen Baker, who enjoys water colour painting, added: “It doesn’t matter if you have never tried a particular art or craft; no one judges or lectures you. There is always someone here to offer help and guidance but that’s it.

“There’s an opportunity to explore water colour painting, crochet, cross stitch, we have one lady who paints Faberge eggs, diamond painting, drawing, adult colouring and painting by numbers.”

Barbara Bold, who enjoys painting water colour landscapes, diamond painting and tackling cross stitch projects, said: “If anyone wants to learn a craft we will do all we can to help. We just want people to discover something they can do themselves. It’s not a lecture.

“The main thing is people come in and meet up, it’s a social event as much as anything. It’s as much about having a brew and a chat as it is about arts and crafts.”

She added: “We are also so grateful to Sandycroft Community Council for their help and support. The £250 grant we were allocated means we could pay for the rent of the Community Centre and also purchase some materials.

“Anyone is welcome to attend, you don’t have to be from Sandycroft, and we would love to see some men join the club. It’s only £2 a week which basically covers the cost of refreshments.”

Chair of Sandycroft Community Council and Flintshire County councillor for Mancot, Bob Connah, says he’s delighted the Arts and Crafts Club is proving such a success.

He said: “It’s wonderful seeing so many residents here chatting and enjoying a brew while learning new skills. Community councillors want to support the club as much as we are able and wish Barbara, Dorothy and Maureen every success with their community club.”

Sandycroft Community Council’s vice chair, Brian Bold, said: “The ladies who set up the club, including my wife Barbara, were funding the club themselves so as a council we wanted to give them a boost.

“It’s had a lot of interest and is getting people out meeting new friends and socialising. And of course they are learning new skills too.”

Flintshire County Council’s Queensferry councillor, David Wisinger, added: “It’s a fantastic initiative and one I wholeheartedly support. It’s great to see residents learning new skills while enjoying a get-together.

“This new club will help prevent social isolation and will help get residents out meeting people and making new friends which is just as important as learning new arts and craft techniques. It would be good to see the club's membership grow and a few men coming along."

Retired optical advisor, Carol Randall and pharmacy assistant Pat Ward, both of Sandycroft, attend the club and enjoy chatting while engaging in their enjoying their favourite pastime - knitting.

Carol said: “To be honest it’s not just about knitting, I can sit at home on my own and knit. It’s about learning new crafts and getting together for a chat. It’s also a chance to get out meet new people and neighbours and have a god chinwag.

“I knit cardigans, baby clothes and I’ve knit thousands of poppies for Remembrance Day. We are looking at perhaps selling some of the things we make and putting the money into keeping the club going.”

Pat added: “It’s a real benefit to come and meet like-minded people and perhaps learn a new craft. I knit clothes for my grandchildren but will take on most patterns. As Carol says it’s a chance to get out of the house and have a get-together as much as it is about arts and crafts.”

Mary Woodcock, a retired retail worker of Sandycroft said: “The club gets me out of the house and meeting new friends. I love it. I’m doing painting by numbers to give me confidence. I might try water colour painting eventually, if I get confident enough.

“I also do cross stitch and needlework. But the main thing for me is its friendly, no one judges me and I can enjoy what I do while having a coffee and biscuit.”

Elaine Proctor, a Sandycroft retired nurse said: “I do a lot of crochet work, which I can do at home of course, but the club gets me out meeting and making new friends. I’m also quite interested in trying a few other arts and crafts; I’m just weighing things up.”

Angela Rowlands, a retired book keeper also of Sandycroft loves doing 5D diamond painting, a new hobby she discovered on the internet.

She said: “5D Diamond Painting popped up on my Facebook page. I think someone knew I liked arts and crafts. I order them through Amazon, they are so cheap and only cost around £3 each.

“They are shipped from China so take a while to arrive, around a month, but it’s fantastic and not too hard. Basically you push the small coloured pins into the pattern to create the picture.

“I did an owl picture first and then Bambi and Thumper for my grandchild. My husband has framed them for me. It’s really relaxing and an affordable hobby. I love coming to the club and getting together with the other members. It’s proving a real success.”

Sandycroft Arts & Craft Club meets every Friday between 1:30pm and 3:30pm at Sandycroft Community Centre between . It’s just £2 a week to join.