Find out more about this crafty charity’s brilliant projects
We caught up with Ginny and Gertie from knitting and crochet charity Woolly Hugs!
“A mutual friend told us about a project run through Great Ormond Street hospital, where tiny babies on the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) are given little homemade quilts and blankets and we had a shared desire to do something to help, to give care, comfort, love and support,” explains Ginny. “It started out as just the two of us and we took on a third trustee when we became a registered charity. Our first project was to make blankets and quilts like those at Great Ormond Street. We phoned around and made contacts, initially with Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow. We also set up our website and Facebook group, and made all our friends join in to get it off the ground!”
“Seven years on and we have many ongoing projects. Our Little Hug project for quilts and blankets now reaches four hospitals around the UK and we have extended this into our Kinship Hug project to make bigger blankets for other people in need of comfort. Recently, we have been making warm, comforting Hugs for Belarusian and Ukrainian teenagers and children visiting the UK for recuperative holidays during the summer with the fabulous charities, the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, Chernobyl Children’s Project and the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children.”
“Each year these marvellous charities bring children who live in the most contaminated area near the Chernobyl reactor over to the UK. In summer, when the dust causes radiation levels to rise, it becomes even more important for as many children as possible to leave their homeland for a few weeks of fresh air and clean food. It is lovely for us to make these children a special cuddly blanket to take home. Last year, one child said to his interpreter that it was like having a big hug from his gran.”
“We support looked-after children around the country by making blankets, we call these Snugs. These children are being looked after within the Children’s Family Trust, who work with them to provide stability and security through to adulthood. This helps them achieve their full potential, with the ideal result of being fostered within a family for life. We would like to make these children something permanent that they can take with them wherever they are. We’ve also recently supported their request for Torties - little amigurumi tortoise mascots. Find out more about Torties on the Woolly Hugs website.
Other Woolly Hugs projects include:
The Candy Hugs Project: making cosy comforting blankets for women going through treatment for cancer.
The Christmas Stocking Project 2019: helping Father Frost provide stockings for children in Belarus.
Billie’s Blankets: for children in developing countries who are suffering with cancer. Woolly Hugs has linked up with World Child Cancer who deliver the blankets on their behalf.
Angel Hugs and Teds: to go to bereaved families at Glasgow maternity hospitals.
Refugee project: Woolly Hugs has teamed up with various agencies (e.g. Goods for Good) to send items to camps in Kurdistan and to families arriving in the UK.
Bee’s Blankets: making lap-sized sensory blankets for those with dementia, Alzheimer’s or autism.
Christmas Hugs: run through Friends of Chernobyl Children, making cuddly toys for children in Belarus
How to get involved
“Woolly Hugs is a friendly and inclusive online community,” says Ginny. “We are always very happy to hear from folk who would like to join us: all are welcome, donors and crafters alike. Knitters and crocheters, beginner or experienced, we’d love to have you on board. We also warmly welcome those who sew, little fabric quilts are fabulous and work beautifully well in our projects. Our donors of funds or resources mean so much to us, too. Our aim is to be inclusive, so everyone can join us if they would like, and some folk just wouldn’t be able to afford to without the support of our donors. Individuals can do as much or as little as they want/have time and energy for. Lots of our projects ask for separate squares and these go towards joint blankets. We have a wonderful Construction Crew who join for us.
Woolly Hugs Christmas Craft Sale
Each year Woolly Hugs holds a Christmas Craft Sale to support a charity close to their heart. In previous years, this has included Winston’s Wish, MIND, Meningitis Now, and Alzheimer’s Society. This year’s event is in aid of Shine, a cancer charity supporting young adults. Small festive items will be sold and auctioned on Facebook from 20th-24th November. Items for sale need to be received by 2nd November. Find out more on the website.
See all the ongoing projects that you can get involved with at woollyhugs.org/ongoing-projects