Soroba mum sells bespoke bags to fund a mobility scooter

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A Soroba mum who feels like she is missing out on family events due to ill-health is raising money for a mobility scooter by selling bags, beads and bangles.

Sheila Brown, who picked up the skills to create the items from community education classes, suffers with a bad back, as well as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

After renting a mobility scooter so she could take part in the recent independence parade, Sheila said it was great to be able to join in and looked into purchasing one.

Websites were suggesting applying for grants or doing a crowdfunding campaign.

‘I thought about going for grants and things,’ she told The Oban Times,  ‘but there are lots of people about who need the same as I do, but they don’t have the skills to at least get some of [the funds].

‘So if I was to ask for a grant, then maybe I am taking away from someone who cannot do what I can do. I don’t like asking for things.’

She added: ‘I would never be able to afford £1,700 at once without doing something like this.’

Sheila made her first bag for her granddaughter, after which her son, Murdo, encouraged her to sell them and asked her to create a bespoke bag out of his children’s kilt that he wore to his mum’s wedding.

So far, she has raised around £220, but will need to make at least £1,700 to fund a light and foldable scooter.

When asked what kind of impact the scooter would make, she said: ‘It will make a big difference – a fortnight ago my kids and their families went to a big forest park. I couldn’t go because there is a lot of walking involved. I would not be going on the rides and stuff, but you can go about and enjoy watching them.

‘I am missing out on all that with the grand kids because I can’t walk very far.’

Sheila, who also lives with depression and anxiety, was a big supporter of the adult community education classes.

‘Things like that are a godsend if you have mental health problems,’ she said. ‘The classes are informal – that has been my social life for the past year. It is not just the creative side, it is the getting together with other people. It is a reason to go and talk to people.’

Sheila said that learning the skills and selling her own products has made her feel like she is ‘not totally worthless’.

She said at times when you are unable to work, you feel like you are not contributing. ‘But if I can do this and fund a mobility scooter for myself, then yeah me,’ she said.

She was also grateful to her family, who have provided support and encouragement.

To have a look at some of Sheila’s work, search Bags Beads & Bangles on Facebook.