Group is knitting up a storm for kids

Northumbria midwife Julie Howe gives one of the knitted with love garments to a mum and baby at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Tanzania.

Northumbria midwife Julie Howe gives one of the knitted with love garments to a mum and baby at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Tanzania.

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Volunteers have been knitting up a storm to help hundreds of children around the world.

The group, set up by Pauline Greaves, a public governor at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, initially began knitting to support the trust’s charitable link with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Tanzania.

And due to the workmanship that went into the knitted blankets and clothes, the trust’s Bright charity has named the project Knitted with Love from Northumbria.

Brenda Longstaff, head of charity and international partnerships at the Trust, said: “Being in one of the poorest countries in the world, the Knitted with Love garments are always very gratefully received in Tanzania.

“It is fantastic to watch NHS volunteers give them out on the children’s ward, maternity ward and special care baby unit.

“Seeing the children beam with happiness when they receive a new brightly-coloured jumper or watching a new mum wrap her baby in a beautiful warm blanket, which have all been lovingly made by women in Northumberland and North Tyneside, is very special.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Knitted with Lovegroup for making and donating these items.”

Since last year, the ‘knitted with love’ items have reached even more patients and families across the globe after the trust set up a regional network of international health links thanks to the North East and Cumbria International Health Links Network.

The Network brings together groups and individual volunteers in NHS trusts across the region who are involved in charitable international health projects.

There are now more than 30 health links in the network, all undertaking invaluable voluntary projects to improve health in some of the world’s poorest countries and places greatly affected by environmental disaster, conflict or disease.

Through the network, the ‘knitted with love’ items are now distributed amongst many of these projects too. To date, they have been donated to patients and families in healthcare organisations in Bangladesh, Nepal, India, China, Malawi, Pakistan, Cambodia, Ghana, Ukraine and most recently Syria.

Brenda added: “When the project began, only half a dozen ladies were involved, now word has spread and knitters from across the region have pitched in.

“They get a great sense of achievement from being able to use their skills to produce something which connects them with the wider world.”

‘Knitted with Love from Northumbria’ is supported by Bright International, which is part of Bright Northumbria, the trust’s registered charity.

For further information about the North East and Cumbria International Health Links Network visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/get-involved/charity/international-links/international-health-links-network or contact internationalpartnerships@northumbria.nhs.uk / 0191 203 1662.