I’ve been a volunteer knitting organiser for the fabulous Cardiff Volunteering Matters team since 2012.
I love my role. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction, pride and productivity. It is also a focused way to occupy my mind. It reminds me how good natured and talented people are, and allows me to learn about different charities and cultures. I also get the chance to meet amazing people along the way.
My role generally consists of maintaining contact with the organisations who take our knits, researching potential new groups and organisations to knit for, keeping on top of the knitted items which are kindly donated to the office, and corresponding with volunteers. We get hundreds of items each month to deliver in the UK and abroad. It’s such a humbling and eye-opening experience.
I am not a strong knitter (to put it mildly). In fact, when I began the role, I couldn’t knit at all. My mum very patiently taught me to knit, though even now I can only knit basic things and I still get bamboozled by knitting queries. Thankfully, there is almost always someone else on hand to help!
I love volunteering – it boosts my mood and helps me feel I am doing something worthwhile with my free time. I leave the office bouncing with good vibes and inspiration! I love seeing the super knits, meeting the amazing volunteers and catching up with the great office team.
For me the benefits of volunteering are plentiful, for both myself and others. It really touches me when I hear how being part of Volunteering Matters helps the knitting volunteers. I have heard lots of stories about how it helps to improve skills and confidence, and boost the volunteers’ social lives. It can also be helpful for people recovering from ill-health or bereavement, and people adjusting to retirement.
Personally, it’s very much a lifeline. I am in recovery from a 15-year span of depression and anorexia which is very much one long process. Throughout these years, volunteering and craft have been my lifelines. I was known as the ‘poppy lady’ in my last spell in hospital, because I consistently distracted myself with the therapeutic art of knitting poppies for the Royal British Legion. I’m pleased to say I contributed to the £300 we raised. Knitting and raising this money for charity helped me to stay on track with my treatment.
I am also proud of the cross stitch project I piloted, ‘Stitching Out Stigma’, which gained the support of hundreds of people and organisations across the globe, and resulted in a large display of cross stitch squares for the opening of the new mental health unit in wales. Having the focus and sense of productivity of both craft and volunteering are key players in my recovery.
My hope is that I will continue in this role for the foreseeable future, and continue to see the project blossom thanks to everyone who is part of it. I would urge everyone to volunteer, and Volunteering Matters is a great place to start! There are so many projects crying out for volunteers, and we would always love to welcome more knitters on board.