In the past Lorraine has done 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. Producing and selling knitted baby toys and accessories to raise funds for the neo-natal premature baby unit showed Lorraine that there is a huge interest in knitting and crochet. Health professionals, in patients/out patients and visitors all shared a need for a place where people (predominately women) who are at risk of social isolation can come together to share skills and spend time together.
Lorraine decided to harness this interest and to use both her creative and teaching skills to set up her own voluntary group called Knitwizzneedles.
Knitwizzneedles encourages and promotes health and well-being in older adults (including people with disabilities) in Southwark and Lambeth who are experiencing isolation, loneliness, depression and related physical illnesses. Knitwizzneedles has an approach that reduces the demand that people put on local health and care services, whilst increasing the well-being of older people and promoting their active place in the community.
Lorraine currents runs Knitwizzneedles twice a week from a community café which provides a safe and relaxed environment. Her plan is to expand to provide people with an opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in the textiles industry using IT. This will not only be for current members but will also include local schools that target students who experience barriers to learning.
Community Catalysts Southwark