Community Impact through Fashion – Haberdasher Freeman Faith Johnson

Caramel Rock, a London-based fashion and creative arts training centre and registered charity, is pleased to announce its face mask production initiative. It aims to provide support to key workers by commissioning the production of face masks through the mobilisation of volunteers. As we know there are thousands of brave individuals who are at risk every day who may not have access to the protective clothing they require.


Caramel Rock, located in Newham, is dedicated to helping young people, especially those from ethnic backgrounds, to train in fashion and the creative arts. We have activated a network of talented youth and their families to empower them to sew facemasks for the more vulnerable members in their community. Providing facemasks to these residents with precise instructions on how to use them will help people slowly come out of deep isolation and carefully begin interacting with the world again on a less fearful basis. 

At the same time, our beneficiaries have gained precious experience following patterns to a professional standard, and feel pride and connection by providing critical face masks to their community. 

Freeman Faith Johnson, the founder and Managing Director of Caramel Rock says: “As a long-standing resident of Newham it has been an honour to lead this initiative and provide this vital resource for key workers and other local communities and organisations. COVID has had a massive impact on many of our lives and therefore we have had to make new adjustments. We recently have seen certain rules and regulations put in place as we transition from lockdown to a new normal. For example, face covering is now mandatory on TFL and other public methods of transport across the UK. With these new requirements there is a high demand for face masks which some organisations have needed assistance in meeting.  This initiative has allowed us to play our part in helping  our community and the national efforts in providing protective clothing. It has been amazing to collaborate and partner up with so many hard working and dedicated volunteers; we have been able to distribute 2500 face masks so far and are looking to do so much more.” 

Through this initiative we have been able to support food banks and other local bodies within Newham, regularly providing them with face masks. We have worked with charities within East London such as Community Links, a social action charity whose brilliant work helps to support those over 40 reach their goals and discover new opportunities, and East London Dance, a performance arts group which uncovers outstanding young talent and nurtures creative pursuits. Our reach has also extended outside our local community as we have also distributed face masks to Metropolitan police, Fight For Peace, River Church and many other organisations. It is with great joy that we are able to serve and help those in need, and we look forward to continuing our efforts to help people remain safe.