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Every Thursday morning, a group of ladies meet at a café in Ponders End to knit woollen goods – but they also knit together a sense of community.
The ‘Knit and Natter’ group, run by Oasis Hub Hadley in Enfield, London, provides opportunities to improve emotional well-being, develop social support, practice speaking English, make friends and learn how to knit.
Ponders End has the 3rd lowest average income within the Enfield borough and 19% depend on benefits to survive. Over a quarter of the working population have no qualifications. One of the most worrying statistics shows that the ward population is below average in terms of residents’ health, particularly mental health.
“From talking with families and residents it became apparent that although opportunities were provided for students and young people, there wasn’t much on offer for the older generation,” says Sam Ellis, leader of Oasis Hub Hadley. “Through our family holiday club we saw that parents really engaged in craft activities and expressed an interest in doing something creative and for themselves. As a result, a small knitting group was set up with one of the parents, a keen knitter herself, leading the group. Knit and Natter also couldn’t run without our two expert volunteers who teach our beginners how to knit, untangle knotted yarns and rescue dropped stitches!”
Anyone from the local community is welcome to join but the majority of participants are mums of students at Oasis Academy Hadley. The Knit and Natter team are currently working on becoming a fully-fledged social enterprise and plan to train their regular members in basic finance and business skills – a key element in ensuring sustainability.