Coverage Care knitters keep Malawi children warm

A group of residents at a Coverage Care home have been keeping their knitting needles busy to help produce blankets and jumpers for orphaned children in Malawi.

The Jolly Jumpers knitting group have been designing and creating their woolly items for the charity African Vision in southeast Africa at Stone House residential home in Bishops Castle, south Shropshire.

One of the founding members of Jolly Jumpers, Gaynor Cook said: “The knitters range in age from 70 to 102 years old and we have been meeting at Stone House every Monday for a year now. It’s proving wonderfully successful. Our group is made up of residents from the home as well as ladies from the local community, and those in respite care who love to come back for a get-together, and a chat while we knit.

“Most of the children helped are orphans and have very little clothing. They sleep on mud floors, so the jumpers and blankets will help them to keep warm at night during the winter. It will also be a real joy for them to have something bright and new to wear. Each knitted item has a label saying ‘Made with love by the Jolly Jumpers’.

“The Jolly Jumpers idea has really sparked people’s imagination and the knitters are delighted to be part of a project that reaches across the miles from Bishop’s Castle to Malawi. Everyone loves to see photographs of the children wearing clothes they have made.”

Stone House is one of 16 care homes in Shropshire operated by award-winning Coverage Care Services, the county’s largest independent care provider.

African Vision, previously named the Landirani Trust meaning “please receive”, has been up and running for nine years, and recently received two deliveries of jumpers and hats just in time for the Malawi winter thanks to their British manager, Sarah Parsloe taking a couple of extra suitcases out to Africa on her return to work there from visits back home

Sarah Parsloe said: “Malawians are fascinated at the story of older people who are so active, and interested in their plight and want to help. We are so very thankful to the Coverage Care residents and all involved in the Jolly Jumpers knitting group. They have worked incredibly hard to supply us with a wonderful array of knitted jumpers, blankets and hats for the charity. It makes such a difference.”

The charity is now looking into ways in which to raise funds to send over one or two shipments a year of 30kg cases, which would be 350 to 400 jumpers in total, in order to make the project sustainable and not rely on an individual delivering the clothes.

Sarah added: “We hope that if the materials and labour continue to be free we can get 200 people to ‘Sponsor a Jolly Jumper for £1’ to cover the freight costs each time. It is not possible to buy a jumper in Malawi for that; and certainly not to the standard of, or with the care given to, these beautiful and unique products.”

For more information about the charity and to donate please visit www.africanvision.org.uk