Skip to main content


17th November 2020

Artisan Taslima Ahmad has sewn up a 2020 National Lottery Award, for her work to keep traditional textile techniques alive with her courses for marginalised women and children.

Taslima and her National Lottery Award

In 2013, Taslima set up Creative Design & Manufacture UK, a non-profit space for artists and designers and an educational environment where people experiencing difficult circumstances can feel safe to share whilst learning new skills.

The main aim of the project is to target hard-to-reach communities, using creative sessions to help make positive changes to women and children with severe mental health.

When the pandemic hit, and her classes forced to close, Taslima, from Manchester, delivered 20 sewing machines to her students and ran online textile training sessions to help vulnerable and disadvantaged BAME women to cope with the impact of Covid-19. Many of the women and children had no access to outdoor spaces, so the machine was a creative and vital distraction.

Taslima even recruited the students to make masks and scrubs for hospitals for those who couldn’t afford them.

Taslima helps her students tackle feelings of loneliness and depression caused by isolation by helping them to focus on their creative skills, enabling several to generate an income through selling their work.

Now she has been named winner of the Heritage category at the 2020 National Lottery Awards, which saw 5,000 nominations cast from all over the UK.

“I was shocked and speechless to find out I had won the Heritage category in the 2020 National Lottery Awards. It’s important that the women who come and learn new skills feel proud of the incredible work they have produced I’m so pleased to be able to shine a light on them. I want to thank National Lottery players for continuing to support us and enabling Creative Design and Manufacture to provide that vital creative outlet during lockdown.”

Taslima said:

“I’m delighted to celebrate Taslima’s National Lottery Award for her innovative and supportive space at Creative Design and Manufacture. The education and creative skills she offers to the women who attend her courses are invaluable, especially throughout the last few months. I couldn’t think of a more worthy winner.”

Fashion designer and BBC One’s The Great British Sewing Bee judge, Patrick Grant, who has set up his own social enterprise and ethical clothing label, added:

The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery funded projects and celebrate the inspiration individuals doing extraordinary things with support from The National Lottery.

In February 2019, Creative Design & Manufacture received £9,97 of National Lottery, allowing Taslima to deliver a programme of activities for people with Learning Disabilities in local BAME communities. Taslima received additional National Lottery COVID-19 emergency funding to enable her to run all her classes online throughout lockdown. Her project will now receive a £3,000 cash prize in recognition of her work.

National Lottery players raise around £30 million to good causes every week. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, The National Lottery has distributed support packages of up to £600 million across arts, sports, heritage, education and the environment.