Ilona Povey was a graphic designer at Durban University of Technology, South Africa for 25 years and, one day, her passion for sewing and design collided. ‘impidesigns’, a business specialising in bespoke, handcrafted, unique bags was born.
It was only when Ilona returned to UK in November 2015 that she discovered a new passion – teaching. She has been volunteering at an amazing charity in Richmond called The Vineyard Community Centre. It exists to help those recovering from crisis. It’s a safe place for the battle-weary and broken, the scarred and the scared; a place to find a welcoming smile, and to be greeted by name.
Ilona helps them with their Works of Love, a skills and training project whereby discarded, unwanted garments donated to their charity shop, are re-purposed into something beautiful and practical – a tote bag. Many of the Vineyard community arrive with all their possessions in one bag; so for the Centre, the bag is seen as a symbol of hope.
Ilona no longer just makes the bags herself, but has partnered alongside the Trust to set up an accredited sewing course, teaching bag-making skills to the Vineyard community. It’s become a place of equipping and empowerment where love, kindness and shared skills has birthed purpose, self-confidence, friendship and many, many bags. Please take a look at their video (vineyardcommunity.org) showcasing this exciting, new project … and buy a bag!