Living Wage accredited employers – Craft Forward

19 February 2024

Written by: Lambeth Council

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Newly accredited Living Wage Employer Craft Forward support Lambeth Council’s aim for the borough to becoming a Living Wage Place, boosting fairness and growth in the local economy.


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Living Wage accredited employers – Craft Forward

Established in 2022, Craft Forward is designed to provide accessible, creative, experiences for everyone. They have recently become an accredited Living Wage Employer.

Director and founder Elena Lo Presti says: “Craft Forward was born from empathy and from the strong desire to change the art world’s status quo. I wanted to utilise arts and crafts techniques to tackle social issues and open up creativity to all. We think of arts and crafts as small, valuable actions that contribute to community growth.

“One of our main initiatives is “Blankets for London,” which started in 2020. Every winter, we bring together knitters and crocheters to create handmade blankets for people experiencing homelessness. When I started it as “Blankets for Lambeth”, I discovered a community that cared and was willing to come together to help the most vulnerable. When one recipient wrote how much that blanket meant to them, I wanted to do it again, and do it better.

Crafting in Lambeth

“Lambeth is the borough that adopted me when I moved to London. It’s where I work, shop, go out, walk and live. Craft Forward started in my living room in Streatham and found its home at 3Space International House in Brixton, first in the Youth Innovation Hub and now on the 10th floor. We have one full-time managing and creative director, a part-time deputy director, a part-time photographer and videographer and four freelance facilitators.

Why Living Wage?

“Becoming an accredited Living Wage Employer is a strategic decision for our small not-for-profit. Being a Living Wage employer enhances our reputation, attracts conscious consumers, nurtures a positive work environment, increases employee satisfaction and motivation and sets the foundations for growth. Fair wages contribute to reducing turnover costs and maintaining a stable, experienced workforce. Our commitment extends to the wider community, positively impacting the local economy. It positions Craft Forward as an ethical leader, building trust among all stakeholders.

Living Wage Place

“Accreditation is easy, it adds value and credibility to your business and makes you feel like a better business owner. I was inspired by other businesses who had accreditation and incentivised by the grant Lambeth offers.”

“I hope Lambeth becomes a Living Wage place. Living Wage ensures fair compensation for workers, contributing to a healthier and more equitable community. It enhances the local economy, as living wage employees are more likely to spend in the community, stimulating growth.”

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