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Fleming College collaborates with local studio to create opportunities for new Canadians


Peterborough ON – (July 17, 2020) – A unique and collaborative project shared by Fleming College, Madderhouse Textile Studios, the New Canadians Centre (NCC) and the Newcomer Sewing Crew has provided opportunities for newcomer women to create hand-stitched cloth face masks while earning a living wage. The face masks will be distributed to Fleming students, faculty and staff as they return to campus for summer bootcamps beginning July 13, 2020.

The Newcomer Sewing Crew is an up and coming collective of talented artists and sewists who are invested in providing opportunities for newcomer women to learn entrepreneurial skills and receive fair compensation for their work. Through this project and others, the Crew’s mission is to strengthen their personal and community connections, and contribute to the social and economic health and wellbeing of our community.

“We are thrilled to work with Madderhouse Textile Studios and the New Canadian Centre to provide important work for the Newcomer Sewing Crew, a collaborative project that in turn will help keep our Fleming community safe,” said Fleming College President Maureen Adamson. “As a public asset, Fleming has an obligation to create opportunities that unlock potential in our community. We are grateful for the work done by the Newcomer Sewing Crew and are pleased to showcase the face masks to our Fleming community.”

The face masks are Fleming College branded, designed by Fleming’s Marketing team, printed at Madderhouse Textile Studios and constructed by hand by the Newcomer Sewing Crew. The Crew created 300 masks available in three different colours, in either elastic or tie style.

“As a social enterprise, our mission is to strengthen our personal and community connections through our products and our stories, and to champion the importance of locally-sourced products as a catalyst for boosting community health and well-being,” said Leslie Menagh, Owner-Operator at Madderhouse Textile Studios. “Through the work that we do, we also hope to highlight the value of our skills and to change the conversation about women’s careers and contributions to our greater society.”

“We are very excited about these face masks and are looking forward to showing them off very soon,” said Reem Ali, Workplace Integration Liaison, New Canadian Centre. “A lot of work has gone into planning, coordinating, and implementing this project. It was always the goal of the NCC’s sewing program to train and equip newcomer women with skills that they would find useful as they forge new partnerships and professional relationships in the community. We certainly see how this project is helping make that happen and we are happy to continue supporting this model as the Newcomer Sewing Crew grows in our community.”

Since January 2019, Madderhouse Textile Studios and the NCC have been partnering on projects that build on the NCC’s existing sewing programs. The goal of this program is to expand program participants’ knowledge and skills in the textile industry and provide them with the space and opportunity to express themselves through their artistic and technical abilities.

For more information about Madderhouse Textile Studios, please visit their website here. More information about the NCC can be found here, and information about the Newcomer Sewing Crew can be found here

About Fleming College
Fleming College respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg lands and territory. Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 100 full-time programs in Arts and Heritage, Business, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, General Arts and Sciences, Health and Wellness, Justice and Community Development, Skilled Trades and Technology, and Continuing Education. Fleming College has more than 6,800 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and 75,000 alumni.


Media, for more information please contact:

Sara O’Halloran
Communications Officer