Knitted together


A Wanstead-based knitting group has created a range of woolly poppies to raise funds for The Legion. Just one way Social Knitworks is helping our community one stitch at a time, says founder Liz Hickson

The idea to set up the Social Knitworks group (despite the fact I am no knitter or crocheter!) came to me after walking past a horrific scene opposite Liverpool Street Station in December 2018. A homeless man had ruptured and died in his sleep. Witnessing that horrific sight on a cold rainy morning when I was on my way to work was something I couldn’t get out of my mind, especially as it was Christmas. And I wanted to do something to help vulnerable people in my local community – in particular, the homeless.

Bringing together a diverse group of local knitters and crocheters, Social Knitworks knits and crochets for a variety of local charities and projects. When we make a sale, 100% of the purchase price is donated to a local cause – with our primary focus being Wanstead’s Corner House Project, which helps support vulnerable people within our community, including the homeless.

However, since February last year, we have also produced countless items for Whipps Cross premature baby unit, as well as for full-term babies who are from less advantaged backgrounds. In addition, if you’re like me (and not a very good knitter), we make very simple squares which get made into cat blankets for the Celia Hammond Animal Trust. So, there is literally something for everyone depending on both ability and the type of cause that may be of interest to the knitter.

Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, we met weekly in The Cuckfield. On our first anniversary in early February, around 20 knitters came along to celebrate. When lockdown hit, we took to Zoom and then my back garden. We then returned to The Cuckfield before Tier 2 restrictions meant we were back on Zoom last month. We all now look forward to returning to real-world meetups!

As a group focused on the community, I have been amazed by the support we have received – including the people who knit, the people who donate wool, Lizi Arnold and her team at The Cuckfield and last but not least, the people who buy from us. I had the idea for the group, but everyone else has made my idea a reality.

With Remembrance Sunday around the corner, we are currently working on a range of knitted and crocheted poppies. Selling at £4 for a small crocheted poppy or £5 for a larger knitted poppy, purchasers have the choice of donating 50%, 75% or 100% to the Royal British Legion.* If donating less than 100% to The Legion, the remainder will be donated to The Corner House Project.

To order a poppy or to get involved, email lizzieofizzie@gmail.com or visit the Facebook page

*I am currently trying to confirm with the RBL whether I am legally allowed to split donations as described above. However, despite contacting the RBL several times by phone, online chat, email and Twitter as of writing (14/10/20) I am still awaiting a response. Should no response be received by 11/11/20, I will split donations as per customer wishes (with at least 50% of the purchase price going to the RBL). But please be assured 100% of the purchase price per poppy will be donated to either the RBL or a combination of the RBL and The Corner House.