‘Knitted Bereavement Blankets, Hearts, Teddies & Toys Appeal’

Verve needs kind-hearted people to donate knitted Bereavement Blankets, Hearts and Knitted Teddies for the Swan Bereavement Team at the Salford Royal NHS Trust, helping them care for and support people and their families sadly affected by COVID 19. This appeal runs alongside our hugely popular ‘Knitting for Babies Appeal’ that we launched last year when the pandemic was starting to bite. Now, the bite from COVID 19 is stronger, and the effects of this virus are felt by young and old. The Knitted Baby Clothes and toys donated to Verve went to vulnerable children and their families supported by local Not for Profit charities that we work with. Sadly, there is a need for knitted Bereavement Blankets for people in palliative care to comfort them and their families in hospital. Furthermore, there is a great demand for Knitted Toys, Teddies and Knitted Hearts to help children who have faced bereavement.

We know the comfort a knitted toy brings, a toy whose sole purpose is to give hugs to a child struggling with grief. Furthermore, we also see the power of a hug from a knitted toy made by a stranger, whose only intent is to bring comfort to a child.

The power of a hug!
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Yvonne Simms, Salford Food Parcels charity and Verve Ambassador.

Yvonne Simms is a Verve Ambassador. She also runs the Salford Food Parcels Charity, providing food parcels to vulnerable local families facing poverty. Yvonne is also a Christian, and it is her faith that guides her through the pandemic. Consequently, it was her faith that brought the Bereavement blankets to us.

Salford Food Parcels and The Vine Project have affiliated Salford Diocese projects; both dedicate themselves to supporting local vulnerable people in Salford. Throughout the pandemic, they have been supporting their community. They know, as I know, this pandemic will go worse; we need to keep on helping wherever we can.

Yvonne is a member of the Vine Cafe at Irlams of the Height, Salford, Manchester. Yvonne told me that Ruth from the Vine Cafe had knitted bereavement blankets; they were beautiful and made of many colours and styles. Ruth asked Yvonne if she knew where she could donate them?

I recently saw a Facebook post requesting Bereavement blankets for a local hospital; I told Yvonne I would get in touch with them and find out what we needed to do. So, I got in touch with them on Facebook, and they told me someone would come back to me; however, they never did. Sadly, the Bereavement blankets were homeless, so I made it my mission to find someone who needed them.

Maxine Casey – Palliative care nurse and Verve Ambassador.

Maxine Casey is a Verve Ambassador. She has worked as part of the palliative care team for Salford Royal for many years; Maxine also coordinates the knitted baby clothes we receive from our Knitting for Babies Appeal. Maxine told me to try the palliative care team at Salford Royal. She said they use Bereavement Blankets for COVID patients on the wards she has worked on. Maxine is also my daughter; I know she knows her stuff, and therefore, I did as she suggested.

When I called Salford Royal, I spoke with Lisa Jones, Head of Patient care, with the SWAN team; and I explained to Lisa the reason for my call. She said, ‘I’m glad you rang. We are down to our last few bereavement blankets; the hospital is so busy, and we are running out.’

Lisa said they use the Bereavement blankets with palliative care patients. The blankets brighten the patient’s room as they are their favourite colours; thus, they make the room feel more homely. However, the families often take the blankets as memory and sensory reminder when the patient passes. Alternatively, the blankets stay with the patient for their final journey.

The Bereavement Blankets from Ruth, thank you x

The saddest thing is that children use the bereavement blankets as comforters when they visit.

However, the saddest part was when Lisa told me the bereavement blankets are also used as a comforter when children visit. These blankets are used with the small knitted bears, which people have knitted for them. They combine play with keepsakes and memory-making; as such, they are of great comfort to children who have faced grief.

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Verve, our Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal.

Eighteen months ago, Verve set up the Knitting for Babies Appeal, and we have received beautiful knitted baby clothes donated by the Ladies who Knit in our community.

Yvonne, Maxine, and I have donated these items to many not-for-profit charities which support vulnerable local mums and their babies during lockdowns. We received many items for premature babies, too; again, we donated them to local Mum with premature babies in our communities, Not for Profit Charities and within our local NHS.

Swan Bereavement, Salford Royal NHS Trust

‘The Swan model of end of life and bereavement care is used to support and guide the care of patients and their loved ones that we care for at the end of life and after they have died.’

SWAN Model of Care (pat.nhs.uk)

Yvonne and I recently visited Lisa Jones, Swan Bereavement Nurse and Trainer for Children & Families at the Salford Royal NHS Trust to deliver the Bereavement Blankets, Knitted toys and premature baby clothes donated to us.

Lisa said she would forward the knitted clothes to the Royal Oldham Hospital and St. Marys Hospital, Manchester, ensuring the knitted items would reach the premature babies who need them most.

Lisa explained, ‘Although we are not a maternity hospital and only have a paediatric A&E department, we accept a small amount of children/baby clothes and blankets. The reason being, unfortunately, we occasionally have sudden infant deaths, which attend our A&E and the bereavement team will support the family; these items are used when we care for the child. The donation received yesterday will help us for a while now, so thank you.’ Lisa Jones

Thank you for the donations we have received!

Lisa added,’ a massive thank you so much for the donations yesterday; we are so lucky to have such support. We currently have a small supply of wool if anyone would like this, as we know this may be an expense?’

‘If anyone is keen to join/continue to do this, knitted hearts are our most popularly used keepsake, followed by bears and blankets. The items don’t need to be knitted; all we ask is they match. A matching pair is brilliant, but it is even better if there are large multiples that they all match.’

Knitted bears and hearts were donated to the Swan team for children.

If you would like the patterns for the teddies and hearts, please message me at val@ververecruitment.org, and I’ll send them over to you. x

Verve – Knitted toys for children appeal

The joy of a knitted toy for any child is a lovely thing to see; however, the comfort these toys bring to children who are grieving is immense. When I initially spoke with Lisa Jones, she asked if we ever had any knitted toys made for us. I was delighted to say that yes, we did, and the children love them.

Verve recruits foster carers for the Not for Profit charity sector; sadly, there are children in care who have faced grief due to COVID 19. For these children, the power of a cuddle from a knitted toy makes them feel loved and safe. Subsequently, it is a massive part of their healing process.

The impact that COVID has made on all our lives is traumatic. As adults, we face reality and make changes and adapt to cope; but for a child, this is not possible.

Our knitted toys from the Ladies who Knit. Thank you.

Children coping with grief find comfort in a hug from a knitted toy!

Many people who apply to foster know that many children in care have suffered bereavement. Thus, they need experienced counsellors and support to help them deal with their trauma. Verve works with Not for Profit Charities and has outstanding specialist support these children need; the power of a cuddle or hug from a knitted toy or teddy goes a long way to help!

Please get in touch if you could knit and help?

If you would like to help, please get in touch with me on the form below. Coronavirus is not going away, and we understand that people are very busy.

However, if you could help, you will make a massive difference in people’s lives, either in hospital with Bereavement blankets; or their families who are at home trying to adjust to life again.

The blanket’s dimensions are approx 36″ – 40″ square for adults, 36″ square for children and 24 “-30” square for babies. The blankets usually rest on the patient’s shoulders and arms, and they choose the blanket they feel reflects them most, so the more colourful and softer you can make them, the better.

You can send your donations direct to Lisa Jones – Swan Bereavement Nurse & Trainer for Children & Families, Pam Woods Suite, Salford Royal NHS Trust, Stott Lane, Salford. M6 8HD.

Thank you, together we can get through this x

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