Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers has grown rapidly since the first few knitters put together a blanket in 2008. By March 2009 we had forty people knitting for us, in November 2010, we had 400 and now there are 2347 knitters.
We started with just one group meeting once a month. There are now 127 across the county and many other groups who now both knit, crochet and sew for us. Groups are provided with patterns, needles, wool, fabric and information about the charities we support. These groups are open to anyone who is interested and are a lot of fun with people sharing patterns, admiring work and having a chat! Find your nearest group in the Local Groups section.
Many of our members knit crochet or stitch on their own at home. For the housebound with no one who can take their work for them we are usually able to arrange for it to be collected. We keep in touch with all our members with a quarterly newsletter sent out by post and email and a monthly newsletter which is sent to members who have an email address. The newsletters has information about all the latest projects and events.
We work under the auspices of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP) which is part of Volunteering Matters and they have in the past provided support in applying for grants and in managing the accounts. In recent years Norfolk Community Foundation as well as the Big Lottery Fund have supported Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers with grants which has enabled us to rent the Wool Loft in Norwich, set up Resource Centres in North Norfolk in Sheringham, South Norfolk in Diss, West Norfolk in King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth and to print and distribute our newsletters. We are now financially independent and rely purely on donations and money we can raise ourselves to fund our charitable activities.
We have many projects we knit, crochet and stitch for - we are happy to knit, crochet and/or stitch for any bona fide charity. These include hedgehogs sold in aid of the hedgehog rescue appeal, teddies for orphanages abroad and local charities, hats, gloves, scarves and hand puppets for the Shoebox appeal, sensory muffs and blankets for dementia patients and Care Homes, blankets and hats for the homeless, children clothes for Africa with Love - and so on. For more details see the section on Charities we support.
We have lots of patterns we distribute to members - see the patterns section - but members can knit, crochet or stitch just about anything they want.
We have an Action Group which runs Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers and this is made up entirely of volunteers - there are no paid workers. Members help start new groups and provide support where needed to existing ones. They collect knitting, crocheting and sewing; they give talks when invited to WI groups, Ladies Circles etc and help to organise our Resource Centre Open Days and Events. New wool is sold at the resource centre Open Days at prices generally much cheaper than in the shops enabling our members to continue to knit for charity.
Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers has expanded so much because so many people help doing different things. Members come forward and volunteer to run groups, help at the resource centre Open Days, bring knitting in for a friend or local contact or suggest another charity we can support. Any ideas and suggestions are always welcome.