In May this year, we started 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 was lost.
This loss meant that they couldn’t get the yarn to hand-knit the clothes for many women with new babies, which would keep their babies warm.
Subsequently, Verve started a knitting appeal that resulted in the ‘Ladies who knit’ coming together. They replied and created a cascade of beautiful hand-knitted outfits and blankets, and 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 generally would be difficult, but it was impossible during a pandemic.
Jeremiah is the son of Sloane Timothy and her partner, and together with Yvonne Simms, she runs the Salford Food Parcels Project and Holiday Hunger project in Salford.
The projects offer food parcels and healthy lunchboxes to 37 local children from families facing poverty; consequently, Sloane knows precisely how difficult life can be. Jeremiah was paving the way for the babies, and we are proudly standing shoulder to shoulder with him.
Jeremiah would be in the hospital for a while, but he was getting more robust, and he would need hand-knitted clothes to keep him warm; There was only one woman for me who could do this job.
My Mother. My Mum is 78 and recovering from a stroke; she was struggling and finding life hard in lockdown, and consequently, I was concerned about her.
After I had told her about Jeremiah that maybe she could hand-knit him a jacket? She nervously accepted the challenge saying that she ‘hadn’t knit for babies for years.’
I told her, ‘don’t rush.’ Whilst Jeremiah was getting better, she too could recover, and hand-knitting would take her mind off things.
Mum grudgingly agreed, so I gave her other wool, knitting needles and patterns; I turned off the TV so she wouldn’t listen to the never-ending newsfeeds of Coronavirus; and subsequently, I set out to find ‘Ladies that knit’ who would support us.
And the ‘ladies who knit’ came together.
The ‘Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal’ was on Social media. I shared it with friends and family and the local community pages, and to make sure that people would see it, I put a £20.00 boost on it.
The ‘ladies who knit’ saw the post and came forward. They volunteered their skills, time, and understanding of what I had set out to do; thus, the knitting needles and the crochet hooks were back out.
The ‘ladies who knit’ meant business!
Over the summer months, the ladies who knit’ hand-made crocheted blankets, knitted jackets and cardigans, hats and bonnets; and bootees and mittens. They were all beautiful.
One lady replied that she didn’t knit; however, her Mum used to have a wool shop in Swinton, and consequently, she had stock leftover. Would they be of use to us? She said there were wool and patterns, and she lived in Swinton near Mum and would take them to her.
Mum’s house was now the HQ for the Knitting Baby Clothes Appeal for the babies, and she loved it.
Women standing shoulder to shoulder together.
Mum rang me to say that 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, 5 shillings!
Together, we spent the next few months parcelling up and posting wool and patterns to the ‘Ladies who knit’; and topping them up when they needed more.
We posted patterns and knitting needles through the letterboxes of the homes of women who were self-isolating, which as a result, shows 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 when mothers and their babies start to form bonds of attachment together. These bonds develop while comforting a safe and warm home with food, 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 a close family and friend supportive network, you are vulnerable. Sadly, many women also make bad life choices because they have no support network around to guide them.
Subsequently, these bad life choices 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.
And 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 making surviving. Universal credit and sanctions are now a part of life for many women; sadly, these women and their babies live in poverty.
Subsequently, poverty is making them even more vulnerable. Every woman knows there is never more of a time when she is vulnerable than after giving birth. Life is more challenging than usual for women, and for many new mums, they selflessly put their babies first.
However, there is no room for luxuries for these women; they are often ‘ground down’ by the daily struggle of making ends meet. Often they are just about keeping it together; consequently, they become even more vulnerable, both mentally and emotionally.
Knitting gave women ‘a purpose’ in lockdown’.
Many ‘ladies who knit’ told me how they felt ‘redundant’, and the lockdown was beginning to affect their mental health.
Often, they had families that lived far away, and they didn’t get to see their beloved grandchildren and friends. Subsequently, they felt isolated and lonely.
This loneliness, together with fear, was causing depression which combined with loneliness from never hearing another person’s voice; ‘unless you called them’, was hard. For many, people often questioned the reason for living.
Once, 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 as a result, 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; thus, they had known the kindness of strangers when women needed it most.
These women know ‘how it feels, and they have genuine empathy, combined with a kindness of heart to share their life experiences to help other women. They know that life will be tough for families more than ever due to Coronavirus; Therefore, we need to keep knitting clothes for babies.
We need to keep our babies warm and snug and, more importantly, to give women peace of mind. No matter what life throws at us, we walk together as women in support of each other.
Verve; dedicated to supporting Mum’s and their babies.
Verve is a Recruitment Agency to recruit foster carers with Not for Profit charities in our communities. These charities have represented babies, children and their families for decades, and wherever possible, the aim is to keep families together.
Many young mums who use the charities are themselves care leavers who have become pregnant; sadly, many have no support network other than charities that can give parent and child foster care.
Consequently, these women must know they are not alone, and strangers’ kindness applies to them.
Verve does not charge any fees for creating and managing campaigns. We are women who walk ‘shoulder to shoulder’ together to care for our babies, children and young people.
We are women who support each other; in the same way, those generations of women who walked before us in hardship and challenging times walked together.
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 have been standing shoulder to shoulder with you; because as young Jeremiah grows stronger, so shall we because our babies and children deserve better.
Coronavirus is having a significant impact on our communities and our families. As a result, more families now rely on Foodbanks and others’ kindness to put food on the table. I’m afraid that’s not right.
Small collective steps make a big difference. We have wool, we have patterns, and together we have a passion for helping women keep their babies warm and snug. What we need now are more Ladies who hand-knit (or crochet)!
Do you have time to help knit clothes and blankets for local babies borne in our communities during the lockdown? If you do, please get in touch on the following form, and we will get back to you ASAP.