Social Enterprise of the Month: Craft Hive CIC

Blog Created: May 7, 2024

Starting your own business can be a nervewracking experience but it can also be the best thing you ever do.  We talked to former teaching assistant and carer Ali Gaskell, who decided to change direction and start her own social enterprise Craft Hive CIC last year. She is now running community craft sessions out of Wigan and Leigh Community Charity-owned Tudor House in Hindley.

Ali said: ““The reason I started it all was because when I really struggled with mental health, I attended a six-week sewing course and I found it really, really helped. Just having something to do with your hands really distracts your mind.

“Support from David Baxter at Wigan and Leigh Community gave me the confidence to make the move to do something I loved, and it has just snowballed from there.

“Craft Hive is a community safe space offering craft workshops and drop-in sessions. 

She added: “We started beginners crochet and sewing sessions, and we have upcycling sewing workshops trying to keep things sustainable. Our ‘Woolly Wednesdays’ is a drop-in session. It is free because I want to make it so that everybody can attend to be inclusive for everybody.

Ali and her Craft Hive volunteers also teach people how to use a sewing machine or people can bring their own. She stresses that no experience is necessary.

“We run six-week blocks and people keep coming back. The Yarn and Yap group on a Friday grew out of a beginners crochet course who did not want to lose touch after their block ended!”

Mental wellbeing is a key priority of Craft Hive.

“People say just how welcoming it is. Crafting is therapeutic and calming and it can be a good distraction. I just want people to feel that they can come in if they just want to sit and have a quiet minute they can. 

“Sometimes, people don’t even want to make anything, they just want to come in for a chat. Sometimes the conversation is just about day-to-day things but other times it gets a lot deeper. I am a good listener!”

Wigan and Leigh Community Charity’s Proper Good programme has supported Ali’s social enterprise journey over the last 12 months.

“I found Proper Good, really, really helpful. I think I have been on most of the workshops they have run! They have helped me to realise that, yes, I can do this first and foremost. The next steps to sustainability sessions, social impact and the bid writing workshops, for example, have given me skills to take away.

“I’ve never gone to one session and thought, why have I bothered! They are very centred to what people need.

“I really enjoy the networking events, meeting people I wouldn’t have ever met and making those connections. There have been loads of lovely  people along the way. 

“And these people are not gatekeepers, they are willing to help and that’s what I love about Proper Good.”

It has been such a positive experience that Ali has now joined the Proper Good Steering Good so she can share her insight about what brand new social enterprises might need and shape the programme further.

Ali makes and sells products to support her work she does, with her Craft Hive members lending their skills. She is often found at the Proper Good pop-up in the Rebuild with Hope store in the Grand Arcade or craft markets. Check out some the items she has on sale on the website


Monday is sewing in the  afternoon and evening

Woolie Wednesdays with a free drop-in Crochet for beginners on Wednesday mornings and evenings starts mid May

Friday Yarn and Yap 10am-12pm £2.50 session bring your own project and enjoy a natter
Find out about other sessions on Facebook and Instagram for more information on specific sessions email

Recent Blog Posts:

    Social Media: 

    Are you someone or have you identified someone who might benefit from becoming involved with WLCC or any of our initiatives such as Made in Wigan?

    There are various ways that you can get in touch to take things forward.

    It may be that you want to make contact to first find out if there really is a ‘fit’.

    You may want to speak on the phone, come and visit us on behalf of someone, or maybe you’d like to bring someone along for an initial chat.

    Whichever route you prefer we can accommodate.

    First things first though, share some brief details and we’ll be back in touch!


      Follow us on social media...
      Facebook Logo
      Instagram Logo
      Twitter Logo
      YouTube Logo
      Wigan & Leigh Community Charity. Business Community Hub. Platt Bridge Community Zone.
      81 Ribble Road, Platt Bridge, Wigan. WN2 5EG
      made possible by the hard work and dedication of many people and among others the following organisations.
      crossmenu-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram