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HBTSR and SASS Friendship Quilt


The Friendship Quilt began as a lockdown project, designed to support people seeking sanctuary based in Swansea, whom Emily Hedges and her friend Jenny Chippindale met through Hay Brecon and Talgarth Support for Refugees (HBTSR) – at one of the Welcome Days held in Hay school.  They spent a happy day sewing and chatting with the sanctuary seeking visitors and Emily resolved to set up a regular sewing group.

Sadly the Covid pandemic put an end to sitting around a table together, but Emily devised the Friendship Quilt, where everyone could work individually on their own squares and, once lockdown was over, join together once more to complete the project.

80 small packs, each containing a square of linen, needles and threads, were sent down to Swansea and distributed amongst the refugee community and their supporters by SASS (Swansea Asylum Seekers Support). Everyone was asked to embroider a design based on the theme of friendship – and return it to Emily.  She got an astonishing 72 embroidered squares back.










In spring 2022, Jenny and Emily stitched the squares together to make the quilt and it has has been hand-quilted at Hay Castle – with the help of local volunteers and many visitors to Hay who have all contributed a line or two of stitch. The friendship of over one hundred people has gone into making the quilt and Emily and her team have now begun to embroider the names of those who have contributed, around the border.

Emily has taken the quilt to Swansea to meet some of the women embroiderers and has met up with others at HBTSR Welcome Days in 2023. It’s been a delight to see the faces of those who stitched their squares in isolation, admiring the combined efforts and the beautiful end result.



The 2023 Welcome days have been a great way to show the quilt and allow more people who were involved in making squares to see their work as part of the whole.














The quilt has inspired a similar project in Abergavenny, amongst a group of Afghan women and their supporters, and there’s talk of one starting up in Hereford. It would be lovely to think of similar projects popping up – to build sewing communities like ours further afield.  There are also plans for the quilt to go on tour, starting with the Royal Welsh Show in July 2023.


The quilt has given so much joy to those who’ve contributed to it and now we’d like to ask your help in raising funds for HBTSR by sponsoring a square.

Sponsor a square for £50 and have the satisfaction of helping HBTSR who give money each month to SASS, to run a hardship fund and also buy footwear for newly arrived people, who often come to the UK in flip flops or badly worn out shoes.

We plan to produce a catalogue to accompany the quilt, showing each square, some information about it and where possible about the person who created it. As a sponsor, you will be invited to add your details and perhaps your response to the square – why you chose it etc.

Over the next few weeks we will upload a collection of squares for you to choose from, so please keep an eye out, take this opportunity to help raise funds for HBTSR – and to be part of the quilt’s history……

If you’d like to take part, please contact Emily, through [email protected]

Thank you!’

Here are the first 6 squares looking for a sponsor..

number 1

number 2

number 3

number 4

number 5

number 6