On the last Friday morning of each month, an island of goodwill and brightly-coloured yarn appears in the middle of Windsor Central Library. If you haven't met them yet, this group of busy participants meets to have a yarn - and a yarn - for a great cause; Wrap With Love, busily churning out knitted and crocheted squares of every colour for distribution to anyone across the world needing a little warmth.
Wrap With Love Inc is an Australian not-for-profit, apolitical and self-described non-denominational organisation which has its warehouse in Alexandria, NSW. Community helpers across the country knit or crochet squares which become blankets, and Wrap With Love distributes those items worldwide via humanitarian aid organisations.
Since 1992, Wrap With Love has dispatched over 466,910 wraps worldwide, with some recent local donations also delivered to Australian survivors of domestic and family violence, patients in hospital and palliative care, youth at risk of homelessness, and homeless Australians.
Attending to the sewing machine is volunteer Chesne Jones, who sews "Wrap With Love" labels onto each blanket. She says the benefits of the group most visibly flow out of the group in the form of blankets, but there are equally important benefits within the group.
She says, "You can see the benefit. It's not limited to women, either. Greg Hansell doesn't knit, but he comes along and has a chat to people. My husband used to come to knit, and so did another man. It's a time just to get together. There are some younger people, and you can see that for a lot of people, it's their therapy."
Chesne says that the group naturally forms mentoring relationships, and members tend to help others learn a new stitch, or extend their own skills to more advanced techniques. Beginners are also welcome, and may wish to attend the group for tips on how to get started and improve their knitting game. Some yarn is available if attendees require help to get started.
"If you didn't know to knit or crochet, and you wanted to learn, anyone here would be quite happy to help you, " Chesne explains. "The other thing to remember is that none of these blankets are for sale. Ever. Very occasionally, people come across them in an opshop, and they're taken off the shelves. You can see from the label that it's one of ours, and that it's meant to be given and never sold."
Sonia Ward is the Community Outreach Librarian at Hawkesbury Library Service. She says that it's important to have a range of activities like the Wrap With Love group available to citizens, and that libraries are a great place for the many interests of diverse communities to be explored.
"It's the way that libraries are going, now. We're not just books. We're becoming a community hub. People might come for an activity, and see a book they like while they're here."
The knitting and crochet group is open to participants of all ages and genders, and will meet next on 31 May at 10am.
For more information on Hawkesbury Library Service, click here.
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