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Community knits together for vulnerable children and victims of crime

28 Aug 2020

A lockdown project, set up by our Community Support Officer, generated almost 5,000 knitted and crocheted squares, which have now been turned into comfort blankets for vulnerable people and child victims of crime.

PCSO Rachel Carne, based at the force’s Leighton Buzzard community hub, came up with the idea, after speaking with members of the local community who were looking for something to occupy them whilst they shielded at home, and which could benefit vulnerable children.

Inspired by the rainbow paintings that were adorning windows throughout the country, Rachel launched her appeal in May for colourful knitted or crocheted 4” squares, via the community team’s social media pages.

The initiative was also kindly supported by Morrisons Community Champion, Katharine Smith, who set up an in-store collection point, and the colourful squares began arriving daily, along with knitted teddy bears, tiny NHS inspired figures, and other cute characters, to go into pockets on the blankets.

It’s estimated that almost 250 people took part.

PCSO Carne said: “During the lockdown, many people said they wished they had something to occupy them, and I was inspired to create a fun task with a positive purpose which would give the ladies an outlet for their skills, and also to improve mental health and morale during a difficult and challenging time.

“We had such a wonderful response, with word about the project spreading quickly, and squares arriving from as far away as Scotland. 

“I even attended a local “knit and natter” group’s meeting, via Zoom, and spoke with the ladies whilst they were knitting the squares, with one telling me that this gave her a purpose.”

Katharine Smith, from Morrisons, said: “I am so proud to have been involved and received so many positive comments from local ladies who said the knitting kept them going during lockdown. 

“I’m so grateful to friends, colleagues and customers who helped sew the blankets together.”

The squares were made up into around 50 beautiful, multicoloured blankets, which have been donated to vulnerable residents in the town, with some going to Embrace CVOC for distribution to child victims of crime, and to Keech Hospice Care for those receiving end of life care.

Yesterday (Wednesday), our Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth, met representatives from Embrace CVOC and Keech Hospice Care, along with some of the volunteers who produced the blankets.

He also met 12-year-old Georgia Sears, and presented with her very own comfort blanket. 

Georgia, suffers with a partial chromosome deletion condition, is unable to walk, and relies on a wheelchair, but she was excited to meet the Chief Constable.

Georgia’s mum, Shelly, said: “I felt honoured to have been chosen to receive one of the beautiful soft blankets, made with squares knitted with love, for Georgia.

This is something that Georgia will always keep and enjoy, and which has also lifted my spirits, and those of her older sister. “

Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: “It has been a pleasure to see the wonderful finished blankets here today, and to hear just how much they will be appreciated by the recipients.

“During the lockdown period, the effort of our community policing teams was a key area of our operation in the county, and Rachel’s initiative has not only improved morale, and promoted good mental health for the residents of Leighton Buzzard, but will provide comfort for many others.”

To follow the Leighton Buzzard Community Team and find out more about its work in the town and surrounding areas, please visit Leighton Buzzard Policing or Central Bedfordshire


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