Blue Smile, Our Christmas Charity

For the second year running, Etsy Cambridge artists and craftspeople have generously donated handmade gifts for our exclusive Christmas goody bags, packed in Etsy-branded totes that you can’t buy anywhere!

Etsy Cambridge Christmas goody bags

Last year we held a prize draw to give Etsy Cambridge shoppers a chance to win a goody bag, but this year we want to do even more and benefit a charity as well as the winners of the bags. We love to support everything local, so we looked for a charity based in our own city and found Blue Smile, who work in the very important and often overlooked field of children’s mental health.

blue smile logo short

The result will be our charity tombola, running during our Cambridge Christmas Fair, 3-5 December in St Andrews Street Baptist Church. For just £1 a go, shoppers will get the chance to win a lovely prize as well as benefiting Blue Smile, because all proceeds will go to the charity.

We wanted to find out more about Blue Smile, so we asked Chief Executive Rebecca Wood a few questions. Her answers made us so pleased we chose Blue Smile, and keen to do all we can to help their incredibly worthy and important work.

Rebecca Wood

What is your own background, Rebecca Wood?

For 17 years I was Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, taking it from a tiny charity to one that funded £53m of research during that time and transformed public awareness of the disease. The one cause I’ve always felt was even more neglected than Alzheimer’s — yet similarly represents a social timebomb — is mental health, and when I heard about Blue Smile and the fantastic way it helps children and prevents mental health issues blighting later life, I really wanted to work with the charity to try to help more children.  Did you know 90% of young offenders had an untreated mental health problem as a child?

When and how was Blue Smile started, and what was the motivation for starting the charity? Did you perceive a need for the services you provide?

Blue Smile started in 2010 with Amanda Langford, now Clinical Director, realising from her own therapy work with children that there was a huge gap in services. Children with emotional issues from deprived areas in Cambridge didn’t have access to support. Yet, if they can get skilled therapy early, it is possible to prevent emotional disturbances escalating. That skilled therapy can help them recover quickly and stop the problems becoming lifelong. Fifty percent of mental health problems in adulthood actually start before age 14, so there’s a massive opportunity. Dealing with mental health problems helps children to learn better at school. Local public services do not have the capacity to intervene early, before escalation, by which time the problems may become severe and much less tractable. Cuts to services have only made this much worse.

Fifty percent of mental health problems in adulthood actually start before age 14, so there’s a massive opportunity.

Can you describe the work of the charity, briefly?

Blue Smile works by sending highly skilled teams into schools and working one to one with troubled children, using arts therapy. Children enjoy this because art is the natural language in which they express themselves. And we use art in its many forms — drawing and painting, of course, but dressing up and acting can be a way of keeping scary feelings contained and expressing them safely. There’s a revealing comment from researchers about this: “Art making offers the unique opportunity to confront the paradox of being unable to verbalize trauma, while needing to verbalize it in order to heal.” (Coleman and Macintosh, 2015.)

blue smile pic 2

How is the charity funded? Do you do your own fundraising? Are you planning fundraising events?

We rely heavily on the public to raise money for our work and have benefited from the generosity and energy of some wonderful people, raising money, doing sky dives, running cake sales, cycling from Lands End to John O’ Groats, that sort of thing,  and corporate donors have also been fantastic to us, such as Cambridge University Press. Of course, the more money coming in, the more children we can help, so fundraising continues to be a critical challenge for us.

I noticed that your patron is Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. Does he take an active part in the charity, and how do his interests intersect with those of Blue Smile?

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen is a fantastically supportive patron and believes very passionately in the charity’s work. He’ll be speaking about his own research on autism at our fifth anniversary event in January.

Blue Smile works by sending highly skilled teams into schools and working one to one with troubled children, using arts therapy.

What are your hopes for the future of Blue Smile?

We know that we need to grow to help more children. We know the work we do with troubled children transforms lives. I feel so sad when people get in touch with us from another area asking for help and we can’t reach them, yet. We’ve already helped 400 children to overcome mental health problems and build for themselves their own inner resilience and we’re determined to do it for far more — but it takes money to be able to do this, not just our passion.

You can read more about Blue Smile and their work, and donate if you can, at:

http://bluesmileproject.org/

Do join us at the Christmas Fair, 3-5 December, to have your shot at winning an Etsy Cambridge goody bag and raise funds for Blue Smile, as well as browsing the work of 30+ Cambridge area designer-makers, who have pulled out all the stops to bring you beautiful and unique gifts for the festive season!

St Andrews Street Baptist Church, St Andrews Street, Cambridge (near Arts Picturehouse cinema)

Thursday 3rd December 2-8pm (late night shopping)

Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December, 10am-6.30pm

On-site cafe

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Christmas Fair Seller Highlight: 1000crows

Etsy Cambridge will have one more pop-up market in 2015 – the Christmas Fair! Over the upcoming few weeks, we’ll introduce our vendors to you. Today’s seller feature is our last one for this fair – we hope to see you all later this week!

1000crows

Yvette will be showing off her vintage wares and some of her own photography. There will be bags, boxes, small accessories and decorative homewares.

“I love old things. Be they a little dusty, scuffed up or even slightly broken. I wander where they have been, in whose house they lived, whose hands they passed through, who loved them (or didn’t) and then finally why they were passed on. I especially enjoy giving them some TLC and bringing them back into their second (or perhaps even third or forth) life. I also love weird things, the weirder the better. Perhaps that says all you’ll need to know about me.”

crocodile shoulderbag
crocodile shoulderbag
Maritime handpainted box
Maritime handpainted box
ermelund cups
Royal Copenhagen Ermelund cups

You can find the Etsy Cambridge Christmas Fair on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December 2015 at St Andrew’s Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge, CB2 3AR, United Kingdom. (Near the Arts Picturehouse Cinema)

1000crows will be at the market on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December.

Find the event on Facebook: Etsy Cambridge Christmas Market

Find the event on Etsy: Etsy Local

Christmas Fair Seller Highlight: DittanyRose

Etsy Cambridge will have one more pop-up market in 2015 – the Christmas Fair! Over the upcoming few weeks, we’ll introduce our vendors to you. Today’s seller is:

DittanyRose

Dittany’s current collection includes stud earrings, drop earrings, brooches and pendants in a range of colours and sizes. Playful yet elegant, their design led approach is immediately obvious. She will also be offering some of her hand-made screenprints and cards.

“The images used in my jewellery were developed through print making, in particular screen printing. I use a unique combination of card and sterling silver to create jewellery that is light, water resistant and durable. Once the images are printed onto card, I cut out the constituent parts using a laser cutter, a technique that comes with its own challenges when dealing with paper and card. Multiple layers of card are then laminated together so that a strong bond is formed. For some pieces findings are added afterwards and for others they are embedded into the laminated card, thus making a feature of the functionality of the piece. My inspiration comes from the materials and the processes I work with; a desire to experiment with both to see what forms are possible.”

earrings
Stud Earrings, available in a range of colours
anemone green
Anemone green screenprint
brooches
Brooches

You can find the Etsy Cambridge Christmas Fair on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December 2015 at St Andrew’s Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge, CB2 3AR, United Kingdom. (Near the Arts Picturehouse Cinema)

DittanyRose will be at the market on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December.

Find the event on Facebook: Etsy Cambridge Christmas Market

Find the event on Etsy: Etsy Local

Christmas Fair Seller Highlight: SpinCity

Etsy Cambridge will have one more pop-up market in 2015 – the Christmas Fair! Over the upcoming few weeks, we’ll introduce our vendors to you. Today’s seller is:

SpinCity

Louise will be offering wool, wool, glorious wool! Handspun, Batts or in colourful clouds, including hand crafted drop spindles and tote bags for your own creative projects. She may bring a few of her own handbuilt and wheel-thrown ceramics.

“I’m on first name terms with the sheep I get my wool from! I buy raw fleece from local farmers in East Anglia and dye it in my home studio. I then spin it using a jumbo spinning wheel which I have painted pink.

I have written articles on the rise of British wool and have been featured in the Observer, Knit Today, Let’s Knit and Simply Crochet magazines. My creations have won Best Costume Design at the London Fashion Film Festival 2014.”

dying kits
Fibre dying kits
cupcake spinning kit
cupcake spinning kit
spinning = happiness tote bag
spinning = happiness tote bag

You can find the Etsy Cambridge Christmas Fair on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December 2015 at St Andrew’s Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge, CB2 3AR, United Kingdom. (Near the Arts Picturehouse Cinema)

SpinCity will be at the market on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December.

Find the event on Facebook: Etsy Cambridge Christmas Market

Find the event on Etsy: Etsy Local

Christmas Fair Seller Highlight: AnomalyPark

Etsy Cambridge will have one more pop-up market in 2015 – the Christmas Fair! Over the upcoming few weeks, we’ll introduce our vendors to you. Today’s seller is:

AnomalyPark

Helen will bring along her screen-printed pashmina’s and fabric, bags made from that screen-printed fabric, beautiful colour in paper angel Christmas decorations and her brilliant colouring books from her second Etsy shop AnomalyParkDigital. Fun for all ages!

“Colouring is good”

colour in pattern
colour in patterns
blue duffel
Blue Duffle bag from screen-printed fabrics
colour in angels 2
colour-in angels

You can find the Etsy Cambridge Christmas Fair on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December 2015 at St Andrew’s Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge, CB2 3AR, United Kingdom. (Near the Arts Picturehouse Cinema)

AnomalyPark will be at the market on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December.

Find the event on Facebook: Etsy Cambridge Christmas Market

Find the event on Etsy: Etsy Local

Christmas Fair Seller Highlight: SashadeWittStudios

Etsy Cambridge will have one more pop-up market in 2015 – the Christmas Fair! Over the upcoming few weeks, we’ll introduce our vendors to you. Today’s seller is:

Sashadewittstudios

Sasha’s offerings at the market will include notebooks, tea towels, kitchen home decor, prints, cards and bags, using hand pulled printing- and embroidery techniques.

“I love making and selling! One supports the other”

Seagull Pencil Case from Handprinted Seagull Fabric
Seagull Pencil Case from Handprinted Seagull Fabric
Alfie the Giraffe
Alfie the Giraffe
Illustrated Memory Game
Illustrated Memory Game

You can find the Etsy Cambridge Christmas Fair on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December 2015 at St Andrew’s Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge, CB2 3AR, United Kingdom

Sashadewittstudios will be at the market on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December.

Find the event on Facebook: Etsy Cambridge Christmas Market

Find the event on Etsy: Etsy Local

Christmas Fair Seller Highlight: Weaversfield

Etsy Cambridge will have one more pop-up market in 2015 – the Christmas Fair! Over the upcoming few weeks, we’ll introduce our vendors to you. Today’s seller is:

Weaversfield

Debbie creates diverse styles of jewellery in Sterling and Fine silver and in copper, most with one thing in common: wire!

“Since I started to make jewellery with wire, I’ve been addicted to its flexibility and endless possibilities: you can make anything from structured geometric shapes to sinuously curving and interwoven designs. You can even actually weave with it! My favourite thing to make at the moment is probably Tree of Life pendants. The wire lends itself so beautifully to sculpting miniature trees, and the range of foliage colours I can add with semi-precious gemstone chips is delightful. They’re proving popular as special gifts and I’ll have a selection of shapes and colours with me at the Christmas Fair, in addition to my statement wire-wrapped earrings, a range of matching jewellery sets, and other gift-friendly pieces.”

chandelier wrap earrings
Silver Wire wrap and Pearl chandelier earrings
give a kiss
Give a -(Kiss)- for Christmas!
Weaversfield Trees of Life Collage
Various colours of the Tree of Life pendant

You can find the Etsy Cambridge Christmas Fair on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December 2015 at St Andrew’s Baptist Church, 43 St Andrew’s St, Cambridge, CB2 3AR, United Kingdom. (Near the Arts Picturehouse Cinema)

Weaversfield will be at the market on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of December.

Find the event on Facebook: Etsy Cambridge Christmas Market

Find the event on Etsy: Etsy Local