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Naturally Useful, Rafford awarded £20,000 by Berry Burn Community Fund to invest in outdoor classroom

By Garry McCartney

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Naturally Useful owner, Karen Collins.
Naturally Useful owner, Karen Collins.

TRADITIONAL crafters from a local village have been awarded £20,000 generated by natural energy.

Rafford-based makers, Naturally Useful, will invest the support from the Berry Burn Community Fund in an outdoor classroom and all-abilities path access on the firm's land.

Owner, Karen Collins, explained the Marcassie Farm business makes products such as willow coffins, urns, baskets, platters, roosting pockets, felted products and burial shrouds.

"I'm over the moon about the funding," she said. "It was third time lucky!

"It means we can move forward much quicker."

Naturally Useful products.
Naturally Useful products.

Naturally Useful will create disability pathways on their willow field and an outdoor classroom to hold a health and wellbeing program that starts in September.

"We bought the four acre willow field from one of our directors recently. It's where we grow an acre of willow and our plant dyes for the wool. We also have two polytunnels and a large garden.

"Our kitchen and toilet block is almost finished so we can now run our three month gap year program too, where attendees learn traditional craft skills in willow and wool."

Naturally Useful is expanding, having been in business for 12 years and now starting as a sole trader. It currently has two full-time and four part-time employees.

"It's all very exciting," said Karen. "I look forward to opening up our beautiful space to students from all over the world as well as local health and wellbeing participants who need to connect to nature and work with their hands."

See https://www.naturallyuseful.co.uk/ for more information.

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