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Meet the London creative studio helping people with their mental health

As part of our Meet the Maker series, we get an insight into how London-based Studio 306 Collective helps people with its products

As part of our Meet the Maker series, we speak to the people behind the creations in the Big Issue Shop – a platform for buying ethical products which put people and the planet first.

This time, we meet Anna Lovell of Studio 306 Collective, a London-based creative studio that works with people living with mental illness.

What can we find on your part of the Big Issue Shop?

A large range of products from our four departments: jewellery, screen printing, ceramics and sewing skills. Everything is designed and made in our studio in Wood Green, Haringey.

These include packs of greeting cards , some for birthdays and some blank for use on any occasion.
There is also handmade silver jewellery such as pendants and earrings, porcelain tea-light holders, bone china mugs and plates, Christmas decorations in porcelain and fabric, and more.

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How do your products make a positive difference in the world?

Our products are original and made to a high standard, giving the world an opportunity to buy affordable handmade crafts and to support good causes at the same time.

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We work with people recovering from mental illness and disadvantaged individuals. Through teaching, we have formed a dedicated team of makers who make our products to sell. They earn back time to use the studio for their own work.

We give them the opportunity to be creative, express themselves and gain a sense of purpose and self worth. Making products to sell and seeing them sell through the Big Issue shop helps build self esteem and aids recovery.

We make sure that we let the makers know when something they made has sold and also if anything appears in an advert. This will usually put a smile on their face. The money we make goes directly back into the project to keep it running.

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

Studio 306’s products include Christmas decorations and jewellery. Image: Supplied

What inspired you to start your company and how did it start?

With the closure of the mental health day service provision in Haringey, Barnet and Enfield, we were inspired to set up a project that gave people the opportunity to engage in a creative project and have a sense of purpose. 

Pamela Anomneze, our project manager, presented a proposal for setting up a local project using creative arts as a catalyst for mental health recovery and to enable individuals to become independent. 

In 2011, Studio 306 Collective was born.

What is the biggest issue everyone should know about at the moment?

One of the biggest issues at the moment is the increase in mental illness over the last couple of years due to the pandemic.

What is one thing anyone can do to make a positive difference?

Buying our products can put a smile on our makers’ faces and money into our social enterprise so that we can involve more people within our project.

We need to make it more acceptable to talk about mental health issues and bring them to people’s attention. Support those you know and guide them to help if needed.

To find Studio 306 Collective on the Big Issue Shop, click here.

And to find more ethical products on the Big Issue shop, click here.

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