Leiho eco friendly Christmas sock crackers

A Leiho Christmas Sock Crackers Employment Project

Every year, we put our cosy bamboo socks into eco-friendly Christmas crackers to make fun festive gifts for the season! Our crackers are specially made with zero plastic and recyclable materials to ensure that nothing goes to landfill.

In 2022, we partnered up with Islington Council to run a pilot employment project where we would give individuals an opportunity to hand make our sock crackers for us and earn a small amount of income! The idea was that Islington Council had clients they were supporting who needed a temporary job whilst they were going through some challenges in their lives. The job would not only help them gain an income but also help them develop a routine and learn transferrable skills to use in future job roles.

Leiho sock crackers employment project with Islington Council

For this project, the Islington Council kindly connected us to two gentlemen that used to sleep rough on the streets and are now living in temporary accommodation. The pilot ran for 6 weeks and were hosted at the Islington Town Hall. The gentlemen were expected to join us for 2 hours per week to make our crackers together. Some days, the sessions were light-hearted and festive, with music in the background and laughter. Other days, we had deep conversations with the gentlemen, learning more about their lives and the struggles they had been through, as well as the motivation they are working towards to regaining independence. These paid workshops almost turned into a social setting where the gentlemen were given the freedom to do their jobs and also express themselves.

Hand making Christmas sock crackers

(For the sake of their privacy, we did not take any photos of their faces.)

The impact we made from the 6 weeks may not have been tremendous but it was effective. One of the gentlemen was able to use the money he earned to repay his family small expenses as well as pay for his national ID card renewal which then would allow him to get the right documentations to apply for a long term job position. The other gentlemen used the transferrable skills gained from these workshops like being punctual, clear communication and attention to detail to then apply it at his other part time job at a small local restaurant.

With the help of these gentlemen, we were able to produce over 500 Christmas sock crackers that were then sold over the festive season at our pop up markets and online store. This was a pilot programme for us but we learned a lot from it and hope to replicate it again this year on a bigger scale. We'd like to thank everyone who have supported us so far by purchasing our eco-friendly sock crackers. Your continuous support allows us to run projects like these that also help individuals take a step further into regaining independence and rebuilding their lives.