Over 725,000 men and women in the UK are affected by eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Although serious, eating disorders are treatable conditions and full recovery is possible once the sufferer gets help. I don’t think eating disorders are spoken about enough and for a sufferer, one of the hardest steps to recovery is admitting that something is wrong. Even then the cost of inpatient care is staggering and the strain on the NHS means that many people do not get the help they desperately need or leave treatment early.
Free Me is a charity working to bridge the gap between the recovery services offered by the NHS and getting back to everyday life. Based in London, Free Me owns the jewellery brand and social enterprise Sweet Cavanagh. Free Me open their doors to women recovering from eating disorders and additions. Through Sweet Cavanagh they teach the women how to make and design jewellery and then sell it on their website. Not only is the process of making jewellery therapeutic in itself, but the members are given the chance to learn about the business side of the enterprise, boosting their skills and confidence. If an eating disorder has dominated your life for quite some time, perhaps causing you to drop out of school or postpone exams, the creativity and purpose generated by being part of a productive group can be a lifeline at a time of feeling lost and alone.
The therapeutic benefits of jewellery making are enhanced by the weekly support groups and nutrition counseling. All of these services are free of charge. Research has proven that jewellery making can augment one’s wellbeing by increasing self esteem and reducing stress and anxiety; all of which can decrease risk of relapse. Sweet Cavanagh also gives women an opportunity to become self-employed as jewellery designers and creators by paying each woman a living wage for each piece of theirs that sells.
So, what do they create?
Necklaces, bracelets, beads and upcycled vintage pieces. Browse online by type or individual designer.
I love this necklace made with a vintage scarf clip, £34.99
. . . this bracelet, £25. What a beautiful shade of green.
. . . and all of the Mala beads (prayer beads) which have been used in meditation for centuries.
See more at http://sweetcavanagh.com/