Common Thread is a cooperative social enterprise based in Vancouver. The co-op provides practical and flexible training and employment in industrial sewing for women who are newcomers to Canada, who are living with mental health challenges, or who are experiencing other employment barriers. These women are able to thrive and learn in a supportive environment, acquiring new skills and taking on more responsibility at their own pace.
Our members are working as many hours as they choose. And our training program is providing them with new skills, along with the confidence to move into employment elsewhere, if they so choose. Since we started in 2009, over 45 people have attended our sewing courses. -Melanie Conn, Marketing Manager and Director, Common Thread Cooperative
But it Gets Even Better
Common Thread has an environmental mission, too. Ever wondered what happens to those flashy banners that hang proudly – but temporarily – on posts city-wide, advertising events, festivals, and other noteworthy happenings? The co-op reclaims these street banners – as well as other retired fabrics – transforming them into colourful and durable products, like bags for example, thereby diverting them from the landfill.
Cut from the Same Cloth
The BGH Community Fund, Purple Papillon Fund, Mowat Family Fund and the Cooperative Commonwealth Fund have all contributed to Common Thread through grants from their Donor Advised Funds held at Vancity Community Foundation.
- For more on this story, read "Common Thread recycled bags create sustainable jobs for hard-to-employ workers" (Vancity, Stories of Change)