In May 2020, I created the ‘Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal’, which exceeded our expectations due to the amazing women that came together to support us. These women’s kindness impacted most when the charity shops closed due to lockdown, which resulted in the wool typically recycled to knit being lost.
This loss meant that they couldn’t get the yarn to hand-knit the clothes, which for many women with new babies, would keep their babies warm.
Subsequently, the Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal resulted in the ‘Ladies who knit’ coming together. They created a cascade of beautiful hand-knitted outfits and blankets; on behalf of the ‘Little people,’ we say a heartfelt ‘Thank you to you all.
The biggest thank you is from one baby who needed a new outfit, and for whom the campaign began: Jeremiah.
Jeremiah and the babies; paving the way for change.
Jeremiah came into the world a little bit before he was meant to, which meant he would need smaller baby clothes. In ordinary life, that would be difficult; but during a pandemic, it was impossible.
The projects offer food parcels and healthy lunchboxes to 37 local children whose families are facing poverty. Sloane knows how difficult life can be; Jeremiah could pave the way for the babies, and we proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with them.
Jeremiah needed to be kept in the hospital for a while. However, he was getting stronger and soon, he would need hand-knitted clothes to keep him warm. There was only one woman for me who could do this job: my Mum. My Mum was 78 and recovering from a stroke; she was also struggling and finding life hard in lockdown. I was worried about her.
I spoke to Mum about Jeremiah and suggested she could knit him a jacket. She was hesitant; however, she nervously accepted the challenge, saying she ‘hadn’t knit for babies for years.’ I said, ‘don’t rush.’ Jeremiah was getting better; this meant she too could recover. More importantly, knitting would take her mind off things.
Mum agreed. I gave her more wool, knitting needles and patterns. I also suggested she turned off the TV and stop listening to the never-ending newsfeeds of Coronavirus; then I set off to find more ‘Ladies that knit.’
And the ‘ladies who knit’ came together.
I wrote the ‘Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal’ and shared it on Social media with friends and on community pages. Furthermore, I put a £20.00 boost on and the ‘ladies who knit’ replied by volunteering their skills and time. More importantly, they understood why I wanted to do this. As a result, the knitting needles and the crochet hooks were back out. The ‘ladies who knit’ mean business!
Over the summer months, they made crocheted blankets, knitted jackets and cardigans, hats and bonnets, bootees, and mittens. They were all beautiful.
One lady told me she didn’t knit. However, her Mum used to have a wool shop in Swinton and had stock left over. Would they be of use to us? There was wool and patterns; she also lived in Swinton and would drop them off for her. Subsequently, Mum’s bungalow was now the HQ for the ‘Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal’, and she loved it.
Women standing shoulder to shoulder together.
Mum rang me that night and told me the wool and baby patterns had arrived. There was an array of soft baby wool in every colour, with the most beautiful and original knitting patterns ever. Some of them still had the actual prices on them from when they were in the shop, five shillings!
Together, we spent the next few months parcelling up and posting wool and patterns to the ‘Ladies who knit’; topping them up when they needed more.
We also posted patterns and knitting needles through the letterboxes of the homes of women who were self-isolating. We were living proof that women who stand shoulder to shoulder together really can achieve results!
Verve, supporting women when they are vulnerable.
The birth of a baby is often when Mums and babies begin to form bonds of attachment together. These bonds develop in a safe and warm home with stability and love.
Sadly, today’s world does not allow for the basics of life that once were normal. The normal now is if you do not have close family and friends or a supportive network, you are vulnerable. Sadly, many women also have no support network around to guide them, which can often affect the future of Mums and babies staying together.
Surely now, as women, we should stand shoulder to shoulder. Because the reality is that this can very quickly happen to anyone of us in today’s world. As a result, our babies and children rely on us now, even more than ever before.
Verve, supporting women in poverty.
For women and their families who are in poverty, life is often about survival. Furthermore, austerity and sanctions are now a daily part of life; sadly, many women and their babies are now living in poverty.
Subsequently, poverty is making women vulnerable. Every woman knows that women are often more vulnerable after giving birth. Life is more challenging, and many new mums selflessly put their babies first.
However, there is no room for luxuries, and women are often ‘ground down’ by the daily struggle of making ends meet. Often, they struggle to keep it together. Consequently, women become vulnerable; both mentally and emotionally.
Knitting gave women ‘a purpose’ in lockdown’.
Many of the ‘ladies who knit’ said they felt ‘redundant’, and lockdown had started to affect their mental health. Often, families lived far away; they didn’t get to see their beloved grandchildren and friends; subsequently, they were isolated and lonely.
This loneliness compounded by fear manifested into depression. Also, the loneliness they felt as they never heard another person’s voice; ‘unless you called them’, was crushing; many questioned the reason for living. For once before, they had a purpose in life; now, they felt they had none. My Mum said, ‘I used to hand-knit all the time, but there are no babies now, so why bother?’
The ladies who knit;’ know!’
The ‘ladies who knit’ are angels, and I now consider many of them to be friends. These women ‘know’ because they too have known hardship and faced challenges in their own lives. More importantly, they experienced the kindness of strangers when it was needed most.
These women understood. They have genuine empathy, combined with a kindness of heart to share their life experiences, and help other women. They know that life will be tough for families more than ever due to Coronavirus; therefore, they will keep on knitting. Furthermore, it is because of their empathy and experience in life that the Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal has been so successful.
Verve is dedicated to supporting Mum’s and their babies.
Verve recruits foster carers for Not for Profit charities in our communities. The Charities have supported vulnerable Mums and their babies for decades; wherever possible, they aim to keep families together.
Many young mums are care leavers who sadly have no support networks. They rely on Charities and the kindness of strangers to support them. We must let these Mums know that this campaign is for them. They are not alone, and strangers’ kindness applies to them.
Verve creates and manages campaigns to proudly walk shoulder to shoulder together, caring for our babies, children, and young people. We are women who support each other. In the same way, that generations of women who walked before us, in hardship and challenging times did.
Please rise to the challenge, and pick up your knitting needles, and crochet hooks.
To the ladies who knit, you are fantastic; you understood what I was trying to do, and you came forward. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you. Coronavirus had a significant impact on our communities and our families. As a result, more families now rely on Foodbanks and the kindness of others just to put food on the table; it’s not right.
However. Small steps, make a huge difference. We have wool and patterns; we also have a collective desire to help Mums and their babies. Furthermore, we have each other’s backs, just as the generations before did. What we need are more knitters or crocheters, can you help?
To the Ladies who walk before us, thank you. x
When I first wrote this blog, my Mum was determined to help others. Sadly, Mum passed away in October 2021; however, the pandemic did not make her lose her zest for life. Like many other women, the pandemic brought back to her a feeling of community, and she began to view life in much more simplistic ways once we got rid of Piers Morgan. For me, it was easy, we replace the noise with the calmness of knitting; making memories instead of a headache and producing something that for many Mums, makes them feel special.
Mum, and the ladies of Wardley, Swinton and Salford, paved the way for ladies from across the UK to come forward and help us. To you, we say, hand on heart, you are an inspiration and why we never give up, you never did.
Also, to Nana Anne, let’s leave this here…
If you would like to support our campaigns, please get in touch on the form below. Every item you donate is given directly to Mums and their babies, children in care or to the Salford Royal NHS Swan team as they support those affected by the pandemic. Together, we are making a difference, thank you. x