Older people knit up a right Royal gift

24/04/2015

Knitting needles are clicking at Abbeyfield houses across Britain for a right Royal reason as residents put the finishing touches to a baby blanket for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s imminent new arrival.

Residents have been knitting squares which will be sewn together to make a unique blanket for the new Royal Baby, which is due to arrive this month. The blanket is being created in Abbeyfield’s pastel colours of light blue, green, yellow, light orange, pink and white, so it will be suitable whether Kate and William welcome a new prince or princess.

The idea to make the Royal Baby blanket came from the Abbeyfield ‘knit and natter’ clubs that take place in scores of the charity’s houses. Designed to stimulate and keep residents active and encourage friendships and conversation, the knitting clubs have proved to be a big hit with older residents.

Older people who visit Abbeyfield Ilkley Society’s Day Centre in West Yorkshire have taken to the task with huge enthusiasm. The local knit and natter club there has already made items for Alex Jones, Lorraine Kelly and Matt Baker from BBC1’s The One Show and jumped at the chance to do something to celebrate the forthcoming Royal birth.

Abbeyfield Ilkley Day Centre manager Alice Wild said: “Abbeyfield Ilkley visitors to our day centre, who come in from the community in Wharfedale, Ilkley, Menston and Burley, have really taken the Royal Baby blanket project to their hearts.

“Older people love babies, and as well as the chance to catch up with friends and take part in a fun social activity, it’s given people the opportunity to talk about when their own families were small and remember Royal births in previous generations.”

HRH the Prince of Wales is a patron of Abbeyfield and the charity’s chief executive Natasha Singarayer is looking forward to sending the completed blanket to his new grandson or granddaughter.

She said: “Projects like this really give our residents around the country the chance to be involved in what is a truly national celebration.

“Knitting is just one of the many activities that take place at Abbeyfield houses, for keeping older people active, stimulated and interested in life is at the heart of what we do as a charity. Our houses run everything from sessions teaching residents to use iPads to create art and communicate with far flung relatives, to welcoming in donkeys, owls, dogs and rabbits for animal therapy sessions to encourage conversation, memories and laughter.”

Isolation and loneliness are among the main issues that blight the lives of older people. Abbeyfield uses a range of activities and invites people from the wider community into its homes to help combat this by providing warmth, conversation and stimulation that all go towards creating and maintaining a great quality of life.

Natasha said: “Older people love to feel involved in what is going on in the wider world, and creating a Royal Baby blanket has been a fantastic way to bring a national event into our homes and day centres around the UK.”

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