News Story

Dulwich Almshouse Charity residents and friends knitting for premature babies

A knitting group started by one of our residents is helping to keep premature babies at the Kings College Hospital Neonatal Unit warm with gorgeous handmade blankets, clothes and soft toys.

The doll-sized blankets keep the babies cosy in their incubators; and the soft teddies are often used to keep their tiny heads cushioned against their feeding tubes. When the babies leave hospital, they take the clothes and other items home with them, so a steady supply is needed by the Unit.

Keen craftswoman and DAC resident Sheila Grantham says she started making blankets for the hospital after lengthy stays there in 1988 and 2001 for two hip replacements ‘I wanted to give something back after the care I received,’ she says.

Sheila then organised a weekly knitting group with women living at her block of flats at the time; core members are Freda Neville, Gwen Hickman, Jean Ball, and Peggy Ball. They all agree they enjoy putting their talents to good use and knowing that the items are going to people who will appreciate them.

As well as supporting the Neonatal Unit, the group also makes full-sized knee rugs for other patients at the hospital and donate their products to fundraising events held by local charities.

Members of the group knit, crochet, patchwork, embroider and sew, sometimes working on projects together. When making a doll recently, Gwen knitted the doll, Sheila added the crimped blonde hair, and Peggy - a former dressmaker - created the pink outfit.

Freda and Gwen will soon be joining Sheila at the DAC and the group plans to have their weekly meetings at the almshouse from now on. They hope to expand the group to include other people living nearby.

This story was also published in our local paper, the Southwark News.

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