Knitted toys that give hugs to children are a comfort, and for a child who has experienced 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 Knitted toys that give hugs as we were in lockdown. Also, I didn’t fully understand the pandemic’s impact on our children, as COVID-19 made many children invisible.
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 COVID-19 had on children in care. Nor did we realise the power of knitted toys that give hugs, either.
We didn’t know the power of ‘Knitted toys that give hugs.’
When restrictions were lifted, I visited the Swan Team and 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 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 again picked up their knitting needles and crochet hooks, as they had in previous campaigns and the ‘knitted toys that gave hugs’ campaign began.
Verve’s Knitted toys to give hugs to children in care campaign.
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 at the Salford Royal Hospital. While working on her shift, 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.
We see the comfort the knitted toys give hugs to children…
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 the comfort the knitted heart gave her.’
Maxine’s comment made me smile. However, it also saddens me 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 had 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 that gave hugs 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 that gives hugs 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 included the toys for the foster children in their welcome packs. Would they help? The answer, again, was a resounding yes.
Many children in care don’t have much when they move into foster homes. I am not involved in decisions like why 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 that gives hugs whilst 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 and 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 led us to the knitted toys that give hugs.
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 would gravitate to them out of natural curiosity. And they did. Watching the children’s reactions as they saw the knitted toys was lovely. They came over with their parents to say hello, and the children picked the toy they liked best.
I also watched as parents began 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 that give hugs to Children in Care’ campaign?
No matter how long children stay with their foster families. The knitted toy stays with them, giving unconditional hugs when needed. Verve Recruitment CIC understands the power of knitted toys that gives hugs to a scared child. We recruit foster carers for the Not-for-Profit sector who understand 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.
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, a knitted toy that gives hugs 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 get in touch with us on the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your support is deeply appreciated; Thank you.