This morning Graham Warke, Mayor from Derry & Strabane District Council visited AMH New Horizons Foyle, meeting clients/staff and heard all about the ‘Knit for Ukraine’ project.
Throughout March clients attending AMH Foyle began re purposing knitted squares used for their 2021 Christmas tree, into hats for children and young people fleeing from the conflict in Ukraine.
Pauline Flanagan, Service Manager said “we soon ran out of squares and appealed to the Community to donate wool to keep us knitting” This was picked up by BBC Radio Foyle, BBC NI News and local Derry newspapers, the word then spread quickly across all social media platforms. Wool began to arrive from all parts across NI, including knitting groups and individuals all coming on board to knit for the project.
Along with baby hats the Foyle Clients have now added comfort Teddies and Derry Dudes to their repertoire.
The comfort Teddies and Derry Dudes have today been gifted to Mayor Warke in preparation for the Derry and Strabane Council’s welcome reception to be hosted at the Guildhall for the Ukraine families arriving.
Glenn Carlin from the Foyle Advisory Group stated “It is our wish that a ‘Derry Dude or comfort Teddy would be given to every Ukraine child that arrives in the City.
Every stitch knitted is with Ukraine in mind, knitting is a very therapeutic mindful activity and is especially beneficial for improved wellbeing especially when knitting for such a worthy heart felt cause such as this. This City has had its own adversities and people know only too well the negative impact this war will have on mental health and the long lasting legacy this conflict will leave for many generations to come.
We hope this gift will bring comfort in some small way to families who arrive to our lovely City.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said: “In a City renowned for the warmth of its welcome I am delighted to see projects such as this preparing the way for Ukrainian families who are really missing the comfort of home. I am happy to receive this donation of comfort teddies from AMH New Horizons Foyle, this is such a heartwarming project created by this talented group.”
AMH New Horizons support the recovery of adults experiencing mental ill health who are interested in progressing towards further education, training or employment. Clients take part in a range of courses, from therapeutic classes like arts and crafts, to accredited training and work placements through the “Working it Out” project. Working it Out is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020, the Department for the Economy and the five NI Health & Social Care Trusts.