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Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Big Stitch Up


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More details on the blog

Crewe and Nantwich Senior Forum, a proactive voluntary group for older people, are organising the Tree Cozy Project, assisted by Cheshire East Local Engagement Team, and has been awarded £9,885 by the National Lottery through the Arts Council England.
This is a creative project which aims to cover trees in Crewe town centre with brightly-knitted sleeves as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at the start of June. The project is bringing together all sections of the community to create a public piece of art which also aims to connect people with their environment highlighting our shared responsibility.


Today March 30th the group and commissioned artist Rachel Elwell from ArtYarn, are coordinating the stitch up, and will be welcoming everyone to the Autism Networks Resource Centre on Prince Albert Street from 10.30am - 2pm, as knitters from across the area are invited to the big stitch up. Everyone will have an opportunity to help sew up the hundreds of knitted squares that have been steadily gathered in over the past few months, from knitters young and old, who have been busy with their needles as part of this year long project. The sleeves will begin to be installed on 23rd May 2012 in time for the Jubilee celebrations.


During last summer the project attracted hundreds of interested people when workshops were undertaken at fun days and open air community events within parks and more recently a series of knitting workshops have been held across Crewe at a variety of venues, including Pebble Brook, Edleston and Monks Coppenhall Primary schools, All Saints Church, St Peters of Church Minshull cum Leighton, Nantwich Methodist Church, Crewe Girl Guides, and assisted living homes for the elderly including Pickmere Court and Beechmere to name a few. The project has also reached a wider network of people adapting the workshops to be able to connect with young people with physical and learning disabilities including children at Springfield School and Buddies Youth Centre in Shavington.

Reaching wider to include people of all ages and abilities was a focus for this project and thanks to an article in Knit Today magazine squares have been knitted and sent in from across the country, including Wales where our oldest knitter lives - thanks Edna who was 100 years young a few weeks ago, and a belated Happy Birthday from us all. Thanks to the use of the internet we have received knitting for our project from places like America so a very special thank you goes to those folks who posted them over to us .


Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: "This project has already touched the lives of hundreds of people and it is a good example of all sections of the community working together. I am looking forward to seeing the finished cozies when they are installed in the next few months."
Adrian Lindop, Chair of Crewe and Nantwich Senior Forum, said "We are delighted that so many people have been involved with the project and in June it will give the town something positive to talk about. This project is all about connecting with people and the environment, and we certainly have reached out to many people during the past year. The other good news is people now want to continue to knit for other good causes, in my opinion that's a measure of success."


"When the sleeves eventually come down, we intend to recycle them, first cleaning them then donating them to charities to be used as animal bedding"


For more information please contact adrianlindop@qmail.com
Background Info
Intro
This is not a story to tear at your heart strings to attract the sympathy vote but a part of this year's work for Crewe and Nantwich Senior Forum and our commitment to creating local pride The Big Stitch Up in our environment We are delighted to share with you the idea of The Tree Cozy Project, here in Jubilee Gardens, Crewe, which invites hundreds of local people to get excited about knitting We are a proactive group of Crewe volunteers that champion older peoples concerns for health and wellbeng, including environmental issues that help restore civic pride and community spirit.
The Project
We want to create a vibrant town centre display made and owned by the community together producing multi coloured knitted tree sleeves for two huge trees in Jubilee Gardens, lamppost banners, and tree plaques Upon completion of everyone's work a big Mad Hatters Tea party for all the community will be held in June to celebrate everyone's achievements and also mark the Queens Diamond Jubilee in style.
Evidence


Crewe is the worst town experiencing deprivation in Cheshire East and has 9 of the 14 worst neighbourhoods in the town. Jubilee Gardens serves 3 of those neighbourhoods that finds the community fighting against low aspirations, poor image, closed down shops etc. Our idea is all about the solutions to these issues and raising aspirations, bridging the great divide between youngsters and older people, bringing people together, passing on our skills and educating about environmental awareness and responsibility We will also be utilizing local skills and suppliers - helping boost our local economy.
Final message


Hopefully you can see this is not an idea for a one off event but a thoughtful solution or catalyst to future projects that will help to contribute to the long term issues. It is expected to reach a wide audience of at least 8000 residents and visitors to Crewe over the Jubilee and Olympic celebration period, and that will leave a lasting legacy beyond the tea party celebration .... One of which is apparent already people want to continue to knit for good causes....

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