Knitting Tewkesbury together
K2Togs are a community knitting group who meet weekly at The Roses on Wednesdays from 10.30-12.30. You know they are in the building long before you see them, as their laughter and chat livens up the bar and beyond.Born from the Knitted Beanstalk which adorned the theatre for Panto 2013, they were supported by Community Builder Jane Griffiths to open up the group to welcome anyone, irrespective of any impairment or barrier, or even their ability with the knitting needles. If you couldn't knit, they showed you how. If you wanted a quiet corner, you were given one. If you found some patterns a struggle, you were given alternatives. If you wanted company, you got it. Tea, biscuits, support and fun are the order of the day. The group continue to grow and a normal Wednesday morning will see 20-30 knitters congregating upstairs. They knit a variety of items from bunting needed for community projects, dog coats for animal shelters, blankets for overseas aid or hats for service personnel.Their most recent collaboration has been very local, teaming up with Cambian Southwick Park School for Autistic children. Head Teacher Louise Tully-Middleton made contact after seeing the yarn-bombing which temporarily adorned the horse sculptures on the roundabout at the entrance to Tewkesbury. The school lies just off this roundabout, and she was impressed with the knitter’s efforts to keep the horses and their rider warm. The school is mainly residential, and they saw an opportunity to ‘soften’ the environment and make it more homely for the pupils.Some of the ladies visited, and took with them the mouse adorned garlands which had previously decorated the Roses for the recent Cinderella panto. The school were delighted and these garlands are now decorating some of the trees in the school grounds. The knitters also produced some child sized ‘Twiddlemuffs’ - decorated hand warmers with soft toys attached to be used as comforters when a child may be agitated. The partnership continues with the ladies sharing their knitting skills with some of the pupils. They are hoping the therapeutic aspect of knitting will transfer to the pupils.This combination of resources and skills is a great example of ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) being used to grow inclusive communities, and supported by Barnwood Trust and the Roses Theatre playing host to a Community Builder post.