Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
The ‘Knitted Baby Clothes to support Mums in Winter Campaign’ aims to help Mums keep babies, snug and warm, during the cost-of-living crisis. Three years ago, I set up the original Knitting for Babies campaign; the pandemic was hitting families in need hard. Many Mums found it impossible to find high-quality, and affordable, knitted baby clothes to keep their babies warm.
Sadly, we may be entering possibly; our worst winter for decades; however, now, the cost-of-living crisis will be hitting harder. And for many families with young babies or mums-to-be, it’s a huge worry; it shouldn’t be this way.
The ‘Knitting for Babies’ campaign made a significant impact on Mums, and for every beautiful, knitted baby clothes or crocheted item donated, I gave to Mums and babies in need during the pandemic. I was also blessed to be supported by over 95 wonderful Ladies and many community knitting groups who got in touch because they ‘wanted to make a difference.’
Many women know the difference hand-knitted baby clothes make.
Many of these women had, as we all have; gone through tough times in their lives. Sadly, many of these women still are. However, they know the difference a ‘bit of wool’ can make to a young Mum struggling to get by; it is the motivation that drives them.
These ladies might not have money to give as they all face the same problems as everyone else, however, they have time and empathy. There are no elephants in the room anymore, these are desperate times for many Mums in winter, but they have inherent compassion. These ladies do not judge, they simply love babies and want to make sure they are snug and warm. After all, when you look after the little ones and you know they are okay; that’s half the battle done, isn’t it?
Every Baby deserves a new outfit; however, Mums on a budget often can’t afford £10.00 for a cardigan from a local supermarket. That £10.00 is often earmarked, to spend on food, gas, or electricity.
Mums should not have to prioritise whether to eat or heat. Nor should they become vulnerable or seen to neglect their babies because they can’t keep them warm and correctly dressed for winter. Sadly, for many Mums in winter, especially those already known to Social Services, these are challenging times. We must come together and help Mums in winter to free up much-needed cash for food, heating, and electricity.
Over 3500 knitted baby clothes have gone to Sure Start and Community Centres,
Since the campaigns began, I am blessed to have had support and I deeply appreciate every person, group and organisation who came together to help. They are wonderful, and thanks to their generosity, I have delivered over 3500 knitted baby clothes, blankets, hats, and toys to Sure Start centres and community centres.
There are no costs to Mums, they have been donated free to me, so I donate to Mums in winter, free of charge. I also do not donate any knitted items to charities or other organisations as they could use them for funding applications; if they need figures for funding, they can make their own campaigns. To be fair, these organisations are often the backbone of support that many vulnerable families and young people need; they are also the reason I don’t apply for funding and grants.
For me, the beautiful, knitted baby clothes, blankets, hats, and gloves; all 3500 of them, go direct to Mums in winter who need that extra bit of help, as designed. Simply, I appreciate the effort that has gone into making them. Also, I know the feeling of pride Mums have as they see their beautiful baby, snug and warm, and feeling loved; they know its job done; they are a good Mum. That’s enough for me.
When I started the campaign, I knew how hard it was for many ladies in lockdown. I helped my Mum and her neighbours to get the shopping in and deliver their beloved fish and chip dinners once a week. Often, they said, ‘we shouldn’t be eating these you know, what with my angina, diabetes, heart problems.’ I told them to get over themselves; for if you can’t indulge during a pandemic, when can you?
To be honest, I loved the banter. These ladies, like my Mum, had survived far worse in their lives than a pandemic; they also loved the fuss and attention. However, I knew, that once alone, they struggled. So, we started knitting baby clothes, and from that, it grew. In the end, we grew sunflowers, painted, and did gardening; well, I did, and they supervised, old age and that!
Creating something from a ‘bit of wool’ brought comfort.
I noticed that through knitting; they became creative. From a little ball of wool, they created something beautiful for a baby, and that gave them comfort. They had a purpose because they knew they could help Mums; they had been Mums once; they were now grandparents. Albeit, they said, they hardly saw the little ones anymore, with everyone having such busy lives and now this pandemic. However, they had an excuse to pick up knitting baby clothes again; forgetting the worries of the world which dragged them down.
One lady said, when she knits, her mind wanders and she’s twenty again. When this happens, she’s knitting for her own family and lost in thoughts, she often forgets what time it is. Sometimes, it’s dark. She can’t see anymore and puts the lamp on and realises it’s teatime. The days fly by, she told me, and I sleep better!
Also, many knitting groups have now formed within communities with women teaching their creative skills to young Mums. They too now love creating something out of a bit of wool for their babies in winter; knitting gives them a sense of purpose.
I collect donations from ladies and groups locally; I love to have a cup of tea and a chat. For me, it is a chance not only to show my appreciation; but to listen and learn. These ladies have stories to tell that inspire me. I am most inspired by how they faced adversity, with humour and pride. Also, I admire how they have an innate empathy for mums today; they are selfless and amazing.
Back then, we had nowt; but we had each other…
More than once I heard the comment, ‘we thought we had it bad when we were young. But it’s nothing like today. They can see the difference in their lives when, in their own words, they had nowt. But they had families living nearby; they had each other. More importantly, they were taught to make a meal from nothing, from those who had no choice.
Before COVID, my Mum used to say, ‘all you see today are young Mums, pushing prams and chatting on mobiles. They get in and out of huge cars that they can’t afford. She said, they ‘were fur coats and no knickers.’
I didn’t agree with her or others on this point, but they viewed life from different times. But as austerity took hold; natural compassion came through. They began to realise the difference in life today; it shocked them. The pandemic, austerity and now the cost-of-living crisis have brought us together. Unlike previous generations, we are a society that now depends on food banks and charities, even if we are in employment. We know life is going to be difficult this winter for Mums. So, I am stockpiling knitted baby clothes and blankets, as I have done for the last two years. However, this year, we need to dig deeper, and your support is important.
My campaigns of knitted baby clothes are my way of giving back…
Verve CIC recruits foster carers for Not-for-Profit charities and local authorities. I’d rather not have to recruit any foster carers; life would be better if all children lived with their families. However, for some children, especially those who have lived with abuse; it is not an option.
I am passionate about keeping children, wherever possible within their communities, families, and schools. Staying local helps children to keep a sense of identity and belonging. More importantly, as the Ladies who Knit know; it is vital to their emotional and mental health and well-being. Sadly, when removed, children lose access to important life skills; shared by peers they love.
I don’t charge for my campaigns. These include Knitting Bereavement Blankets, hearts & teddies for Salford Royal hospital and getting emergency food parcels with Salford Food Parcels and many other Not for Profit charities and groups.
These campaigns are my way of giving back and I make my money by donations and recruiting foster carers. These foster carers meet children’s needs with the Not-for-Profit Charities they proudly represent. More importantly, children are local to the community in which they belong. Also, for me, every child matters. Thank you for your support, you are lovely.
To support the ‘Knitted Baby Clothes to support Mums in Winter Campaign,’ get in touch on the form below. Together, we can make Mum’s and their baby’s lives a bit easier this winter; thank you x