Lorraine has previously carried out a lot of volunteering work in her local community including fundraising for King’s College Hospital and teaching young people new skills in knitting and crochet. Combining her creative and teaching skills, Lorraine finally set up her own voluntary group Knitwizzneedles earlier this year. She set it up in response to the huge interest in knitting and crocheting that has been generated through her fundraising at the hospital. She had been selling knitted baby toys and accessories which provided funds to the neo-natal premature baby unit. Whilst she was volunteering, health professionals, in patients/out patients and visitors all expressed a need for a place where people (predominately women) who are at risk of experiencing social isolation could share these skills.
Knitwizzneedles is a project that encourages and promotes health and well-being in older adults (including people with disabilities) that are experiencing isolation, loneliness, depression and related physical illnesses in Southwark and Lambeth. Knitwizzneedles has a preventative approach that reduces the demand that these illnesses put on local services, and at the same time increases the well-being of older people and promotes their integration into the community.
Lorraine is currently running the group from a community café twice a week which provides a safe and relaxed environment. Her plan is to expand what she offers to provide lifelong learning skills for learners in understanding various mediums in the textiles industry using IT. This will not only be for the current members but will also include local schools that target students with barriers to learning.