Knitting for those in need
IRT Kangara Waters’ Winter Warmers Sale has been supporting those in need for more than two years.
On the first Saturday in June, you will find a group of IRT Kangara Waters residents standing in the cold selling knitted goods to raise money for those in need. “We hold the sale outside because we consider that if we’re raising money for people who are cold, we can bear to be cold for two to three hours on a Saturday morning,” says Jenny Bradford, one of the stall’s organisers.
Jenny, along with Margaret Erickson and Lyn Steel, have held the Winter Warmers Sale for the past two years. The first sale came about during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown when residents were isolated from the outside world.
“Residents were getting pretty bored, so we put out a challenge for the village to make 100 scarves to give to charity,” explains Jenny. “We provided a very simple pattern and in three months we made 150!”
Overwhelmed by donations, the group held a sale and raised $1400. The proceeds (along with leftover knitted items) were donated to three charities: Children’s Ground in Alice Springs, the Early Morning Centre for the Homeless programme in Canberra and Vinnies.
In 2021, the group decided to go even bigger for the Winter Warmers Sale, calling in knitting reinforcements from across Canberra.
“We had people knitting beanies for adults and children, others knitting scarves, a group knitting TV socks, another group knitting mittens and gloves, some people knitted jumpers, and we made fleecy rugs and wraps,” says Jenny.
The 2021 Winter Warmers Sale raised an impressive $2000 which was again donated to charity, along with a load of handmade goods.
Jenny says her knitting hobby has meant she always has something to do, and often has to remind herself to go to bed!
“If you’ve been a craft person all your life you can’t stop, however when you get to my age you don’t need anything more in your home. Most of us feel that you might just as well put your skills to good use for those who are not as fortunate – you get so much satisfaction out it.”
A number of IRT Kangara Waters residents also provide knitted items to the Canberra Hospital Foundation, which are donated to patients.
“Once a gentleman in Emergency would not let a nurse or doctor anywhere near him,” explains Jenny. “A nurse gave him a blanket from the Foundation shop, which almost brought the man to tears, who said nobody had ever given him anything. From that point on the nurses and doctors could do everything they needed. You get such a lift knowing something you created may have made a real difference to someone.”
The team is now planning their 2022 Winter Warmers Sale. “A few people in the village haven’t been able to stop knitting since we got them started,” laughs Jenny.