Knitted doll holding a note asking for a friend at Christmas.

Knitted toys bring joy to children at Christmas.

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Our Knitted Toys campaign and the Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal brought together a group of “Ladies Who Knit.” Over the years, they have generously donated beautiful knitted toys, blankets, and baby and children’s clothes to bring joy and comfort to families during Christmas. Unfortunately, Christmas can be challenging for many families, but communities, charities, and businesses have come together to support those in need. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of people who want to make a difference, Father Christmas will have handmade knitted toys and clothes to offer families in Leigh at the Spinners Mill café, free of charge. No judgments, just a helping hand to those who need it most.

Collage of knitted toys, baby clothes & blankets donated to us  to children at christmas.

The cost-of-living crisis hits hard.

The original Verve ‘Knitting for Babies’ campaign was a tremendous success, helping countless mothers keep their babies warm and snug over the last three years. However, with the rising cost of living crisis, I knew that changes needed to be made.

Parents should never have to choose between heating and eating, and children miss out on Christmas. That’s why the Ladies who Knit have come together to donate a knitted toy or knitted clothes, made with love, to help mums this Christmas. The government may have failed in its duty, but the Ladies Who Knit are here to show that there’s always hope and a way forward.

knitted doll holding a note asking to be named and give cuddles to a child this Christmas.

Communities unite to make the best of a bad job.

I am a child of the 1970s, a time of hardship and challenges. Despite the difficulties, my mother always found a way to make ends meet. She paid for toys and bikes every week to ensure my siblings and I didn’t miss out on Christmas gifts. Even when Ted Heath was in power, and some people spent four days in bed, my mother persevered. The late 70s had frequent power cuts, often leaving us in the dark, especially when watching TV. However, we stocked candles and saucers and stoked up our coal fires to keep warm.

Today, many mothers struggle to save for Christmas due to benefits cuts and low wages that barely cover rent, heating, and food. Without the help of not-for-profit charities and food banks, these mothers and their children risk becoming vulnerable. That’s why I started the Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal when COVID-19 struck.

I know from experience what it is like to grow up with nothing, but we had each other, and a strong sense of community. Despite being let down by the government, we made the best of a bad situation. We also had our loved knitted toys by our side made with love from those who cared.

The Ladies who Knit know of hard times.

The ‘Ladies Who Knit’ is a group of volunteers who donate their knitted items to help those in need. Times are challenging due to the cost of living crisis and government policies. However, they are fighting back with their weapons of choice – knitting needles and crochet hooks, which they use to create items with love, empathy, and compassion. These items include toys, baby clothes, hearts, teddies, and bereavement blankets to support those affected by COVID-19.

The knitted items created by these campaigns keep babies warm and help prevent vulnerability, particularly for families living in poverty. It’s no secret that women who receive social services intervention face overwhelming fear and uncertainty; it’s the elephant in the room we don’t address. Everyone deserves to live without fear, so I created these campaigns.

Knitted items donated to Tyldesley Sure Start centre recently.
Knitted toys and donations at Tyldesley Start Well Centre.

A ball of wool prevents Mums from becoming vulnerable.

As a foster care recruiter in the not-for-profit sector, I am passionate about helping vulnerable families and children. I have first hand experience working for a large independent foster agency and seeing the financial incentives associated with children in care. However, inspiration comes from small acts of kindness, like a ball of wool and the unwavering determination of women who understand the struggles of motherhood.

It’s amazing how many women are aware of this issue. They can be found in the community, Sure Start centres, and estates where families belong. These women are the angels of our community, just like Anne Pinkney who manages the Valley Community Centre in Swinton. Anne knows which mums require assistance and collaborates with others who can provide the necessary help.
As a result, more mothers have access to community centres and food banks without fear of judgement. These women are now part of an estate where everyone has the same amount of nothing, but they have the Annes of this world. And that’s the difference they need, especially during Christmas.

Anne Pinkney smiling and holding a note which said all the knitted items were free of charge, they were donated by Ladies who Knit because they want to make a difference.
Anne Pinkney

Anne Pinkey and I visited the Buille Hill Park Hall Xmas Fair last year to donate knitted toys and baby clothes to local families. We were among many stallholders passionate about helping others and representing charities and community groups. The NHS angels also shared valuable information on support networks and emergency services.

The fair was filled with music and joy, fantastic singers and bands, and local children singing, creating a beautiful atmosphere. The mums who saw our table were amazed by the knitted toys and clothes, and we were proud to donate them to those who needed them. We believe in the importance of helping others and spreading kindness. Also, participating in such a fantastic community event is inspiring.

No one has ever given us anything for free!

The ladies who donated wanted to lend a helping hand; they gave them to us for free; therefore, we reciprocated their kindness.
The reaction, for many, was one of shock. We expected it may have surprised some; however, we needed to fully understand its impact as many had never had anything for free. One Mum said, ‘You mean there’s no cost? No one has ever given anything for free. Especially something as beautiful as these.’

I looked at Anne, and we both thought the same; it might be time we did.

Collage of knitted donations, text reads, Happy Christmas

Compassion and understanding from women who care.

During these difficult times, we can find comfort in the compassion and understanding that surrounds us. Some are willing to lend a helping hand, offering knitted toys and beautiful baby clothes to those struggling. These small acts of kindness can make a world of difference to families needing a helping hand.

Please use the form below to learn more about what we do and why we do it.
Life’s challenges can be daunting, but with kindness and resilience, we can overcome them. Together, we are stronger.

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