Piece Together Puzzle Club

piece together puzzel club

Piece Together in association with Wentworth Wooden Puzzles

Wentworth Wooden Puzzles started working with Sue Riches in 2016 when she was appointed our Minister for Jigsaws 2017.  Sue was chosen as she really did show a huge love and commitment for jigsaw puzzles but crucially also recognised the important of keeping an active mind through puzzling.  To aid her own mother and friends she set up the very first Piece Together group and it grew from there. Piece Together combines the enjoyment of puzzling and socialising. It is well known the importance of keeping a healthy mind, especially in later life, but that also isolation can also be detrimental to your health. Piece Together combines both of these so you can enjoy a challenging jigsaw puzzle while socialising at the same time. Piece Together also lends out jigsaw puzzles via a library system, so puzzles can be borrowed and enjoyed at home and once complete brought back to the club’s monthly meeting where you can then borrow another one.

Here we share Sue’s thoughts on how to set up a Piece Together group and also how to promote and maintain it as it expands. The rewards are very much worthwhile.

“First of all you need a love of jigsaw puzzles yourself plus the time, energy and commitment to promote and manage a group. If you enjoy puzzles yourself then you are likely to be able to recommend great puzzles to different types of people. You also need a desire to build a community by providing the location and talking points for group discussions.”

“You need to find a place to meet where you can provide basic refreshments and set out tables where puzzles can be completed. Plus storage for your jigsaw puzzles.  If both these locations are the same, it helps with logistics. To advertise your Piece Together club many localities have free places to advertise in. These are often distributed for free too to the local community. Many paid local publications also offer free advertising space to local non-profit groups. Get calling and see how much support your local press will give you. Local notice boards and shop windows are also a great way to spread the word.”

“While your Piece Together club is small you may be able to manage it yourself but as it get bigger you may need some help with the organising, so start recruiting volunteers as soon as you can.  It all helps with the socialising aspect of staying fit and healthy and connecting with likeminded people.”

Sue holds her meetings every month, but you can choose how often you hold yours based on the facilities and number of members. Plus don’t forget to have jigsaw party every year on or around 3rd Nov, National Jigsaw Day.

Getting hold of jigsaws for your jigsaw club is probably easier than you think. Every new club that starts up we will donate a jigsaw puzzle to get you started.  Free advertising is also a great way to build your jigsaw collection. Many people have jigsaws at home they don’t use anymore and enjoy knowing they are being donated and used for a good cause. That is the way Sue built up her jigsaw library initially, she initially aimed to get 100 puzzles but now has over 500, all types, sizes and topics. Obviously they have to be good quality and hopefully no missing pieces. They then need to be labelled and numbered so you can keep track of where they are when out on load and also easy to find and recommend to members. Sue used the Dewey Decimal system. Grading them also a good idea, easy to difficult and also by image type, fine art jigsaw, Christmas jigsaw puzzles etc. Sue has also devised an idea to put a postcard in each box so those who take it out on load can add their comments eg ‘gave up at the sky!’  Or ‘a piece is missing ‘. Sue now has a missing pieces table where the aim is to re-unite odd pieces with their correct puzzles.

How much you charge for membership really depends on how much you have to pay for your venue and whether you include refreshment prices in the membership fee. It does need to very manageable for your members but also cover all costs. A suggested membership would be about £2 and members could take up to 1 or 2 puzzles out on loan a month and attend all group sessions.

Rather than different dates every month many clubs set a principle such as the 3rd Friday in every month, then they are easily remembered and more people attend.  Investigate if you are entitled to any local grants. Sue managed to get a local Town Council grant which enabled her to buy boards and porta puzzles so they could easily transport part complete jigsaw puzzles. Plus they were used to take puzzles to other locations, such as care homes and hospices. As they were part complete engagement rates increased.  Think of other local communities that you think could benefit from a Piece Together meeting, maybe primary schools, care homes in conjunction with schools, prisons, anywhere that can benefit from puzzling as it’s intergenerational, mindful and a fun activity.

To help you set up your own Piece Together club we'll give you advice and we’ve also created some support material such as leaflets and posters you can use, hopefully this will enable you to get your club off the ground as quickly as possible, so you see the rewards straight away. To help start your jigsaw puzzle collection we’ll also donate a puzzle to the first 50 official Piece Together Puzzle Clubs set up in the UK.  Please email us at customerservice@wentworthpuzzles.com and title your email ‘Piece Together’. We’ll then get in touch to organise your initial free puzzle and email promotional material to you. Once you club is set up let us know and we will promote it in an email that is sent to all our customers who asked to get emails from us. Also let us know if you set up any Social Media accounts as Wentworth Puzzles will then like/follow you too. Any questions or queries, please also contact Customer Services.

Happy Group Puzzling

 T&C's for Piece Togther clubs

A club must provide evidence of the following, in order to be classified as an official Piece Together Puzzle Club:-

  1. A person in charge with a desire to share/recycle puzzles and enough time to organise things.

  2. There is a main point of contact (who could be the same as 1. above.

  3. There is at least 1 volunteer to help label, check stock and make tea.

  4. There is a permanent location for club meetings to be held and a place to store puzzles.

  5. At least 1 meeting is scheduled at a set day/time each month, for at least 3 consecutive months.

  6. It has at least 5 paying club members committed to attend each meeting.

  7. It has at least 10 puzzles for members to share at the first club.

  8. There is a (free) local publicity plan in place for promoting the club and attracting new members.

  9. It is using the official Piece Together branding and promotional material to promote the club