The Journey of the Teddies
The Investing in Social Capital Partnership selected the picture of the knitted teddy bears as the first banner for its website and promotional materials. “For us it represented connections and we liked the feeling of movement and creating something as a group”. Below is the story behind the image with kind permission from Ita, Jan and Annexe Communities.
About the project
VAF support the Connects2Project at the Annexe Communities based in Partick, Glasgow. Funding is provided through the Glasgow Third Sector Transformation Fund to support older people aged 65+ to reduce social isolation and improve health. http://www.voluntaryactionfund.org.uk/funding-and-support/reshaping-care-for-older-people/
The Knit and Natter group is one of the activities emerging from the project this year.
Ita is the main inspiration behind the teddies. Ita was previously isolated and house bound after being diagnosed with MS. She hit rock bottom when her GP said she’d need to go on anti-depressants. Her sister brought her to the Connects2Project and the rest is history. Ita states that “Connects2project is my anti-depressant.” She is amazingly inspirational and has really changed for the better.
Before Ita joined, the project had only knitted squares for “peace blankets” She used to be an amazing knitter and has got a whole new lease of life through this venture. Ita has knitted over 150 of the hats so far, some having been already sent off to Syria with another pile ready to be shipped off to Nepal. Each week Ita would come to the Positive Living Class and share what she had knitted that week. Amazing beautiful hats. Each one a work of art! Inspiring Jan to knit again after years, bringing in knitted teddies on a weekly basis!
The story so far
One day, Ita came in to say that she had attended another knitting group to see what they were doing and came back with a pattern for puppet dolls. Then next week she turned up with the most adorable wee teddy. Everyone just fell in love. So to date over 30 teddies have been made, loads more in the making. https://www.facebook.com/Connects2Project
Tapping into wider community assets
Nan McKay group donated wool which helped clear out a cupboard through a connection made at VAF networking event. Jane Cowie, Project Development Officer says “So all good, win, win and yes, loads of connecting going on at physical and social levels. Magic. Love it. Sometimes they have to be reined in on the nattering front”!
From Scotland to Syria and beyond
The reason behind the teddy bears initially was to send off to women and girls in the developing world who have survived prolonged, obstructed labour who may be left with irreversible damage www.freedomfromfistula.org.uk for more information. Each woman got squares for a blanket and a wee teddy bear puppet as a present for their baby. So far a few have been sent to Syria, Nepal, Goa and Tanzania www.sharetanzania.com.