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All they want for Christmas is wool…

All they want for Christmas is wool…

A keen group of knitting prisoners from Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility (ARWCF) only want one thing this Christmas – balls of wool so they can continue knitting blankets and hats for brand new babies in the Counties Manukau area.

“We do have a wool shortage at the moment, and we would really appreciate anyone doing a spring clean over the holidays who finds wool that they aren’t likely to use to send it to the Prison, so that we can keep knitting essentials for the babies,” says Nina Haines, Assistant Chaplain at the Prison.

“Since we began knitting in prison a year ago we have had around forty women contribute their time and needlework for the South Auckland Health Foundation Wool Programme, and we have donated 157 blankets and 175 little hats.”

“Some of the women have come to the group never having picked up a knitting needle before, but they have learnt quickly to knit peggy squares and sew them together to make blankets with the help of other women. That’s one of the best outcomes for the women – they help each other and develop teamwork and communication skills.”

“These women are proud of the work they are doing – many know themselves the struggle it is to buy good quality warm clothes to keep babies warm and healthy – and although a small gesture, it does assist with their reintegration to give something back to the community that they have wronged.”

Project Coordinator Nikki Winn, from the South Auckland Health Foundation says the need for new clothing for the babies never diminishes.

The Counties Manukau District Health Board catchment area is anticipating over 8,000 births next year, and the wool programme relies on wool and monetary donations from community members.

“Our clothing programme relies on our wonderful community of knitters, sewers and crocheters who keep our babies supplied with clothes. We supply starter packs of clothing which are given to a lot of families as they leave hospital, and we also supply delivery suites, maternity clinics, neonatal units and Kidz First Children's Hospital to meet the year round needs of the babies.”

The 300 knitters that contribute to the programme are far flung – from as far south as New Plymouth, up to Wellsford and across to Katikati and Tairua and also includes waiting patients at the Manukau Super Clinic who knit peggy squares to be sewn into blankets.

“We are delighted to have the knitters of ARWCF working with us to help the babies and families of Kidz First Children's Hospital.”

Wool donations can be sent directly to the prison


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