Connecting with people around us helps them to be the cornerstones of our lives, so it can be valuable to invest time in developing how we do this. This may involve family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Building these connections supports and enriches us every day, and we want to support residents with this.
The thriving ‘Hanover Knitters’ from Hanover Close in St Neots, Cambridgeshire are in high demand. Following a successful year knitting 40 blankets for their local care home, they are now knitting for their fellow residents at the nearby Hanover Extra Care estate, Poppyfields.
The group, which has 25 members, was founded three years ago and is made up of residents from Hanover Close. It has also attracted people from the local community. The next task for the group is another batch of blankets for residents at Poppyfields, which will be handed over during a celebration lunch. Then the group plans to link with the local animal rescue centre, making smaller blankets for rescued cats and dogs.
Angela Begnett (pictured second from the right), founder of the group, says: ‘Knitting and crocheting seems to be having a great revival at the moment. We are making the most of it in St Neots. It’s a great way of meeting people, making new friends, socialising and even doing some knitting!’
If you would like to help knit or crochet blankets, clothes or toys, please see this Saga website for details of some of the many organisations you can help.
Residents at Aldwyn Place, Englefield Green were delighted to be awarded grants totalling £10,550 by the Big Lottery Fund and Hanover’s own community grant programme, Greenshoots.
The funding has enabled them to purchase 20 refurbished laptops and has covered broadband provision to the estate for the next two years. A 12-week training course plus ten hours of private tuition was also provided by We Are Digital.
One of the first residents to benefit from the lessons was 88-year-old Arnold Philips, who says: ‘I really enjoyed my starter session and have been emailing friends and family, as well as watching history documentaries on YouTube. It also helped me and the other residents here to socialise a lot more.
‘I would like to say a special thanks to Greenshoots, the Big Lottery Fund, We Are Digital and our estate manager, who have made these lessons possible.’
Estate manager Carol Atkinson from Fernbank Court, Selby, noticed that some residents were becoming isolated after the closure of local authority activities. She decided to contact the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) to see what help they could provide.
As a result, RVS volunteers set up a mobile cafe at the estate, which now regularly attracts 30 residents to the coffee morning. The enthusiastic volunteers run activities, such as quizzes and party games, and also promote other RVS services, such as befriending and community transport.
Hanover resident David Budding says: ‘Although Fernbank Court is a lovely place to live, many of my neighbours used to keep to themselves. These coffee mornings are a great way to make new friends and catch up with my neighbours.’
When Barbara Wren retired from her role as estate manager of Sandringham Court, Longbenton, she missed the residents so much that she decided to offer her help with organising estate activities, alongside veteran volunteer Audrey McMullen.
Now the residents can enjoy regular entertainers, quizzes, singalongs, coffee mornings, bingo, indoor bowls and fundraising events, all of which help to combat loneliness and isolation.
66-year-old Barbara says: ‘After working full-time for nearly 50 years it was a real struggle to finally slow down and relax. I also missed the wonderful camaraderie between staff and residents at Sandringham Court.
‘I jumped at the chance to work with Audrey and now we spend most of our time putting a smile on residents’ faces.’