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Source: Auckland Council

Have you got a craft project that you’ve been wanting to complete for ages, unfinished paperwork or mending that you’ve been meaning to do? Tick that job off your list in the company of others at the UFO Group, which meets at Central City Library’s Makerspace every week – and everyone is welcome.

Although the name suggests it’s a group that discusses strange sightings in the sky (if that’s more your jam, head to the non-fiction section on the second floor), in this case UFO stands for unfinished objects.

Community Development Facilitator Katie Richards organises the group, and says that the original intent behind it was to help build community.

Katie Richards, who facilitates the UFO Group, says that the concept behind the group – finishing unfinished projects – is broad enough that anyone can attend.

“It can be lonely in the city and we wanted to provide a space and a place where people could come and connect.”

“The beauty of the concept is that it’s open-ended enough for people to bring along whatever they like rather than needing to have a specific interest. So far, attendees’ projects have included journaling, scrapbooking, crochet, knitting, mending and even natural dye making.

The Makerspace has sewing machines and an embroidery machine you can use for free, as well as 3D printers that you can book to use for a small fee.”

“It allows for a diversity of interests, because the idea is that you could bring along paperwork to do if you wanted,” says Katie.

Janice Norton, who is working on some drawings of penguins on the day we visit, says, “I came along with a friend and really enjoyed the vibe, meeting all these different people from different walks of life and the lovely atmosphere, so I came back.”

You don’t always need to bring a project to finish – Janice Norton doodles some cute penguins while chatting to other group members.

One of the benefits is that you learn things through conversations with others and new ideas are birthed. For example, group member Janet Meads’ conversation about the community garden she is a part of at St Matthew-in-the-City has led to an organised talk on the garden followed by a tour for anyone interested in growing biodiversity within the city centre. The garden is supplied with compost from the Federal Street Compost Hub, which is supported by Auckland Council and St Matthew-in-the-City. It’s having its first birthday on the Monday following our visit, and UFO members who have become involved with the hub are making bunting for the celebration.

As well as the group being a great way to connect with others, Katie says you also gain the sense of satisfaction of finishing something off.

“You can sometimes have that mental burden of these things that you never get around to doing, so it’s also good for mental health to feel, ‘I got that done today!’”

The UFO Craft Group meets every Wednesday from 12-2pm at the Makerspace inside Central City Library. The machines in the Makerspace are free to use and can be individually booked at any time (3D printers incur a small charge to cover material used). Visit the Central City Library Makerspace website for more information.

Makerspaces are creative spaces in our libraries that feature a range of fun and educational technology that everyone can enjoy. These spaces are available at seven of the Auckland Council Libraries across Tāmaki Makaurau – learn more here.