We have news of an amazing project to send Christmas Angels knitted by volunteers to care home residents throughout Cheltenham and the Bishop's Cleeve area of Gloucestershire this festive season. Anna coordinator Gill Ford reports that it's 'been fairly time-consuming over the last few weeks!' I should say so… (writes Debbie Thrower, pioneer of Ana Chaplaincy). We really applaud such a brilliant initiative.
Gill says: 'This year, we have had the most wonderful response to requests for knitted Christmas angels for our local care home residents. The knitting pattern was distributed early in the autumn and, at the beginning of Christmas week, I delivered more than 1,000 knitted angels to 27 local care homes. Each care home was also given a handwritten Christmas card for each of its residents.
'This was not an aspect of the role I had anticipated when taking on my role as Anna Coordinator for CaBiC – (Cheltenham and Bishop's Cleeve) – Anna Chaplaincy a couple of years ago, but, as these projects have developed (knitted crosses for Easter 2021, knitted chicks for Easter 2022 and the Advent calendars last Christmas), I have realised how much they are appreciated by so many people.
'I have collected knitted angels from elderly people, living alone (in some cases housebound), who have said how much they have enjoyed contributing to a community-wide project and how it has given them something to do – a real purpose.
'We have had more church craft groups getting involved with the project this year, which has also provided opportunities for me to talk more about Anna Chaplaincy.
'And that is before the angels even reach the care home residents! We have seen photographs of residents, whose faces have lit up when they have been given their angel – in some cases, with reports of eyes welling up at the thought that people have gone to the trouble of knitting a gift for them.
'As a coordinator, I have had the privilege of visiting the local care homes in person, making contact with staff and sharing with them a little of what CaBiC Anna Chaplaincy is doing. Hopefully, these contacts will lead to further discussions about how we might be able to support them in the future.'
These photos give you a sense of the project! We are so grateful to all those involved – especially to those who have knitted angels and written Christmas cards.