Knitted toys are a source of hugs and love for many children. However, for a child who has experienced the trauma and separation from a loved one, they are priceless. I realised the power of a cuddle from a little knitted friend during the pandemic after I wrote the Knitted Bereavement Blankets, hearts, and teddies campaign for the Swan Bereavement Team at Salford Royal NHS Trust.,
Initially, I didn’t fully understand the concept, nor the urgent need for these knitted keepsakes as we were in lockdown. Also, I didn’t fully understand the impact the pandemic had on our children as COVID-19 made many children invisible to us.
Many of us had little idea of the reality of the pandemic; other than the news the media shared. Sadly, we also had no idea of the impact COVID19 had on children in care.
Like many people in lockdown, I didn’t understand the impact of COVID-19.
When restrictions lifted, I visited the Swan Team, and then I understood. The hospital was like a war zone. People waited outside A&E, and ambulances were waiting with desperately ill patients because it was full; it was hell.
I had been in lockdown, and like many others, I listened to the news and believed what it said. Subsequently, I hadn’t realised the enormity of COVID-19, but now I did, and I wanted to help, because, if it was like this now, what the hell was it like when COVID really did have a grip?
I wrote the campaign, but its success wasn’t down to me, it was down to the kind people who understood. Thankfully, the Ladies who Knit, once again picked up their knitting needles and crochet hooks, as they had on previous campaigns.
Verve CIC, creating campaigns to bring comfort to children in care.
Verve has created campaigns to bring comfort to our community throughout the pandemic. We started the ‘Knitting for Babies Appeal,’ followed by the ‘Emergency Food Parcels Appeal’. The appeals aim to help families struggling through the lockdowns and needing emergency food parcels. Finally, we created the ‘Bereavement Blankets, Knitted hearts and Teddies Appeal.’
The ‘Bereavement Blankets Appeal‘ has delivered hundreds of knitted teddies and hearts from the Ladies who knit. We proudly took them to the Salford Royal NHS Trust, Swan Team; they were warmly received.
Verve Ambassador: Maxine Casey is a student nurse working at the Salford Royal Hospital. It was whilst working on her shift that she saw the comfort the teddies gave to children. Maxine had visited the Swan team before starting her shift and delivered to them Bereavement Blankets, Knitted Hearts, and Knitted Teddies on behalf of these wonderful ladies.
‘Today, I saw the comfort the teddies give to children; it was lovely to see.’
After work, Max called me and said, ‘Mum, I saw a little girl today at the hospital who had one of the knitted hearts. It was lovely to see the smile on her face, and I saw the comfort the knitted heart gave her.’
Maxine’s comment made me smile. However, it also made me sad because we don’t understand how the pandemic has affected children. Indeed, we have been led by children with pictures of rainbows and clapping for our beloved NHS. Children have led us when we needed help, so the comfort to a child, from a tiny, knitted heart or teddy, made with love from a stranger, was profound.
It also made me think about how children in care feel. If we create a campaign to donate knitted toys for children in care, they too could feel the comfort Maxine had witnessed. Maybe, if they had a knitted toy in their welcome packs from the Not for Profits, they too could have unlimited hugs?
‘Not for Profit Charities’ bring comfort to foster children in care.
I decided to test my theory; I spoke with the Not-for-Profit charities I recruit foster carers with and asked, ‘would their foster children like to have a knitted toy as part of their welcome pack and bring comfort to them? The answer was a resounding yes.
So, I asked the ladies who had knitted for us before if they had ever knitted toys. I explained what I wanted to do and include their toys for the foster children in their welcome packs, would they help? The answer, again, was a resounding yes.
I know many children in care don’t have much when they move into foster homes. I am not involved in decisions like, why do children go to foster families with only the clothes they are wearing? These decisions make me sad and angry. If there is anything I can do to bring comfort to children; from a knitted toy delivering cuddles, then that’s what I’ll do.
Verve Ambassadors are women who care and will go the extra mile.
Maxine is my daughter; she is also a Verve Ambassador with Yvonne Simms and Bronagh Howell. These ladies have a shared love in life; their beloved NHS as they are either, student or retired nurses. Verve Ambassadors are passionate about providing support and care to vulnerable families in their communities. As a result, when it comes to bringing comfort to children in care, they will always go the extra mile.
Yvonne and I had previously been to the Swan team to establish what they needed, and I created the campaign. Yvonne has kindly coordinated the hundreds of knitted items supported by Knitting groups within our community; she is amazing.
Fate has a funny way of making things happen when you least expect it.
It was a Sunday night, and my phone pinged. It was an enquiry about the ‘Knitting for Babies’ campaign. However, this enquiry was different. It was from a lady asking if I would be interested in knitted toys.
The email explained how she and her sister had knitted toys in the past; however, no one wanted them. Could we use them? I smiled to myself and replied, ‘yes, please.’ I don’t know where I intended to store these toys. But I knew we could use them, to give out what was intended. A cuddle to a child when they needed it most.
Maybe the cosmic universe was picking up my thoughts? I don’t know. However, the parcel of toys arrived, and they were beautiful. However, I donated them to the Salford Food Parcels and the Salford Armed Forces Day event at Pendleton Church, Salford.
At the event, I set the stall as usual. However, I had arranged the toys in their splendour with no price, and no message. I wanted to see if children, out of natural curiosity would gravitate to them. And they did. It was lovely to watch the children’s reactions as they saw the knitted toys. They came over with their parents to say hello and the children picked the toy they liked best.
I also watched as parents were beginning to look worried because there was no price. I quickly explained; that there was no charge for these toys. They were donations, but they must go to homes with children who will love them.
Some parents donated to the tombola, but there was no pressure. The aim was to hug children, from a little best friend, whenever they needed it most, just as intended.
Could you support the ‘Knitted Toys for Children in Care’ campaign?
No matter how long children stay with their foster family. The knitted toy stays with them; giving unconditional hugs when it’s needed most. Verve Recruitment CIC understands the power of hugs to a child who is scared. Subsequently, it is why we recruit foster carers for the Not-for-Profit sector that also understands children’s needs.
Verve is a recruitment agency committed to finding caring and compassionate foster carers. More importantly, foster carers understand the power of a hug from a knitted toy to children in care.
These foster carers make a massive difference in the lives of children. However, the knitted toys and teddies; made from love by strangers, are by their side. Giving comfort to children when they need it most. And, for a child who is a little bit lost and vulnerable, this is the best gift we can give.
If you are interested in fostering with a Not-for-Profit Charity, please get in touch. Alternatively, if you would like to knit toys for foster children; we would love to hear from you. Please contact us on the form below or email email@example.com. Your support is deeply appreciated; Thank you.