In November 2012, bespoke tailor Gieves & Hawkes began offering Pennies in their world-famous store at No. 1 Savile Row. By offering their customers the chance to donate 75p when paying by card, thousands of pounds has been raised for the tailor’s two charity partners, Walking With The Wounded and the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), an organisation that helps craftspeople in Britain to achieve their potential and contribute to a thriving craft sector.

Mia Sarosi webAs of July 2014, QEST has received nearly £2,000 via Pennies thanks to Gieves & Hawkes customers, money that is now funding craftspeople of all ages and backgrounds.

One such craftsperson is Mia Sarosi, whose grant from QEST at the age of 33 helped fund a period of research and development for a new technique in porcelain ceramics. Without the funding she would not have been able to complete her research and take her pottery career forward.

“I started my business full time in 2002 when I left secure employment and was supporting myself,” said Mia. “I didn’t have any capital and discovered that life as a potter can be pretty difficult, especially if you are on your own. I decided to apply for grants and funding to keep me going while I tried to develop a new range. QEST gave me this lifeline.

Iron Blue Grasshopper Beaker with tealight for web“This scholarship has been truly life changing, not just because at the time it helped me to considerably progress my craft, but in the years following to restore and re-build my business. QEST has an ongoing support network and I feel encouraged and inspired by other scholars.”

QEST also gave Mia the opportunity to display her ceramics at the Coronation Festival Summer House exhibition at Buckingham Palace, giving her a priceless chance to take her life and career forward.  Without QEST, many rare and exquisite skills could easily be lost, but thanks to donations like those made at Gieves & Hawkes, the charity can help keep British craft alive.

To find out more, watch QEST’s video below and catch a glimpse of some of the inspiring work your pennies can help fund:

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