All Go For Ballynahinch Library Knit And Natter Group

Ballynahinch Knit and Natter group continue their efforts for good causes.

The Ballynahinch Library Knit and Natter Group meets every Thursday from 11-12.30pm through the year, and their efforts in supporting good causes are a credit to all of the members of this cross-community group.

Ballynahinch Knit and Natter coordinator Irene Murphy, left, with group member Susan Browne show off some of the items produced by the group that were made for good causes.

Coordinator Irene Murphy said: “I help organise most of the activities and we are a very busy wee bunch of ladies who really enjoy each others company. This is a great place to meet up and for some it is a bit of respite from being at home quite a lot of the time on their own often. Our group is all about healthy minds and ensuring everyone is comfortable in a safe social place. We are all great friends. Altogether there are around fifteen in the group from around the Ballynahinch area.

“But I should add that libraries around the country all have Knitter and Natter Groups and they all operate if different ways, some providing for needy causes. We don’t sell out produce. We send on the woollen clothes and they are very well received in the deprived countries and places they arrive in.

Ladies from the Ballynahinch Library Knit and Natter Group.

“Most of the ladies are knitters but a couple engage in crocheting and make small blankets which are always very useful. The ladies knit a wide range of woollen clothes for babies and small children ranging from hats, scarves, gloves, socks, jumpers, woollen blankets, cardigans, cowls and other items including soap bags and we include a bar of soap. A few soft toys too are sometimes put into the mix too.

“Some of the wool that we use is donated or left to us if for example, if someone passes on, and the family donate the wool to us. But we all source wool ourselves in any case and work at home outside the group session. If anyone wants to donate wool to us we will accept it very appreciatively. The result from all the efforts is that we can support a number of very deserving charities and communities in distant places where they really appreciate the efforts our members have made. Many in far off places have said they cannot understand why these ladies do what they do, and the answer is that they are a very caring and compassionate group and that spirit travels around the world from Ballynahinch.

Some of the knitters at the Ballynahinch Library Knit and Natter group.

“Some parents in Africa for example may not have any other baby clothes other than the ones they receive from us. Sometimes they have to wrap their children in newspaper to keep them warm. So we pass on our knitted clothes to Helping Hands Romania, Sr Rita Brennan who works with a community in Zambia, the Grace Fellowship Church which works with the needy in Muldova, and the Samaritans Purse.

“We presented a large quantity of hats, socks, cardigans and blankets to Tiny Life, Northern Ireland premature baby charity. There were 368 hats, 52 cardigans, 25 blankets and 25 pairs of tiny socks. We would just love to say thank you everyone in the community and the Drumaness Monday Club who contributed items or donated wool. This is just an example of one lot presented to a good cause. In July, Helping Hands Romania and the Moldova group will be going back out and taking our woollen items with them made up in packs and in different sizes as they continue their charitable efforts.

“We produce quite a quantity of items through the year and it all has to be packed up and itemised. In the past pupils from St Colman’s High School helped us and they made attractive artistic labels and the children in these far of countries just treasured these labels as much as the clothes themselves. The pupils also helped some of our ladies with their iPads and it was good to see this cross-generation work taking place.”

Irene explained that the good causes supported will have had a supply of woollen garments by the summer and that the group will then start making and collecting clothes and other items for the Christmas give-a-way.