Preston’s knitters are being asked to help people that continue to be isolated across the country.
Lockdown has lifted and the nation is adapting to a new normal, but a large proportion of the UK’s population will continue to be in isolation or face restrictions to daily life.
The People’s Friend – in partnership with Re-engage, a charity that is committed to fighting loneliness, and Stagecoach, the UK’s biggest bus and coach operator – will travel the country in a colourful yarn-bombed bus in a bid to spread a message of love and cheer to the nation.
The magazine is calling on knitters to take part by sending in a triangle of knitted bunting.
Every donation will be added to the bus design by expert crochet designer and urban knitter, Emma Leith before it sets off on tour, handing out magazines and other cheerful goodies in September.
For any non-knitters looking to show their support, the magazine is also raising funds for Re-engage’s new telephone befriending service ‘Call Companions’, which was launched in response to COVID-19.
It offers free, friendly, and regular calls to ensure that those most vulnerable to isolation due to COVID-19 remain connected to the outside world.
Angela Gilchrist, Editorial Director of The People’s Friend, said: “We’d be delighted if the public want to contribute, either by knitting a triangle of bunting which will be added to our bus, or with a donation to Re-engage, which will support those who have been facing isolation even before the world went into lockdown.
“Life is better when shared with a Friend and we want to offer a hand of friendship and raise smiles across the UK.”
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Re-engage CEO, Meryl Davies, said: “Many people have really suffered with feelings of loneliness and isolation through this crisis and it’s not over yet.
“The situation can be incredibly confusing and frustrating as well as frightening. The prospect of social clubs and activities for people over 75 opening anytime soon looks unlikely and this is leaving thousands of people bored, anxious, and lonely.
“Our volunteers are genuinely interested in raising smiles and chatting to older people about things like gardening, books or just the day to day. We pair people up thoughtfully and carefully so the conversation flows.
“It’s a great way to make a new supportive friend and give yourself some comfort to help you through this difficult time.”
Knitted donations should be sent to People’s Friend, White Cottage, Devizes Road, Box, Wiltshire, SN13 8DY by Saturday 12 September.
To donate to Reengage, visit www.reengage.org.uk/donate.
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Have you experience feelings of isolation during lockdown? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.