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Unique fashion bags blend style with community ministry

South London Christian-based social action charity Pecan is launching out with a new prison ministry that blends fashionable recycled material bags and lots of creativity …

South London Christian-based social action charity Pecan is launching out with a new prison ministry that blends fashionable bags, recycled materials and lots of creativity …

PecanPi makes tote bags and toiletry bags with a difference because, unlike most product lines, very few items are exactly the same.

The charity's tote bags are made from recycled coffee sacks used to transport the beans from the growers to roasters in the UK. Each one is individually cut out by hand to make best use of the images and logos.

The difference in the printed bags is in the detail: different linings, different zips and different trimmings. What’s more, each bag has a story to tell about their maker.

PecanPi (stands for Prison Industries) a social enterprise that works with British prisoners to create products for 21st century people on the go.

In doing so, prisoners learn essential skills in sewing production and design so that they may be better equipped to find employment on release, or even setting up their own shop. All profits from PecanPi are invested back into the workshop that includes the mentoring prisoners seeking to set up their own business on their release.

The design of bags is the brainchild of Tessa Evelegh, a lifestyle stylist and author of The Great British Sewing Bee, a book to accompany the BBC prime-time series.

PecanPi is a joint venture between Prosper 4, a social enterprise that helps people with convictions set up businesses and find jobs and Pecan, a charity supporting marginalised people in South London.

Tessa says: “We aim to put a bit of fun, individuality and South London creative edge into every Pecan Pi bag and have them made up to the highest Made-In-Britain standards. The fact that they’re made by prisoners who enjoy the creativity, learn new skills and gain more hope for the future, makes them even more special.”

Every Pecan Pi bag might have its very own individual personality but where they are identical is in the quality. Made in the UK and constructed to the highest standards they all share:

  • Made from recycled or end of line fabrics where possible
  • Outers and linings 100% natural fibres
  • Fully machine washable

PecanPi bags will be sold at the Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair at Hampton Palace Court Palace 16-18 September and also online at

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