Knitting grannies donate hats to premature babies

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PENSIONERS at a West Lothian housing development have been putting their skills to good use – by knitting hats for premature babies.

A group of ladies at Bield’s Dean Court development in Bo’ness have teamed up to knit over 50 hats this year for babies born prematurely at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.

The team of four was set up in January after the tenants decided to put their years of knitting to good use – and create an opportunity for socialising at the same time.

Mrs Davidson, a tenant at Bield, said: “I have always really enjoyed knitting and knew there was others in the development who felt the same. I didn’t want our skills to go to waste so I thought it would be valuable to start the group.

“The relationships which have blossomed since have been truly magical and I think it’s because we know we’re doing something good for those who are in need.

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“We have had really positive feedback from the hospital and it is great to know the hats are being used and our work has made a difference to someone’s life at what can be a very difficult time for them and their families.”

Robbie Duffy, Acting General Manager, Women and Children’s Directorate at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, said: “We are hugely grateful for the support of a number of individuals and groups who regularly knit hats for our maternity unit and we know that parents really appreciate these kind gifts.

“Around 3,500 babies a year are born in Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which equates to approximately 290 births per month. Research shows that keeping newborns warm is paramount to the baby’s wellbeing and wool is a far better insulator than any cotton product.

“Putting on a hat can also help prevent heat loss and guard against conditions such as hypothermia and the risk of breathing problems. Warmth also helps babies grow and develop.”

The Dean Court knitting group have been asked to knit angels for the Salvation Army over the festive period.

The angels with an attached Christmas message will be placed onto trees throughout Bo’ness for anyone to take.

After the Christmas project, the ladies will be moving onto knitting baby wool jackets for charity.

Alison Lowe, Development Manager at Bield’s Dean Court, said: “When I was approached by Mrs Davidson to start the group, I didn’t anticipate just how successful it would be.

“It has developed new friendships amongst tenants and has encouraged social interaction. Now other tenants, friends and family come to the lounge on a Monday afternoon to sit and chat with the ladies whilst having a refreshment – even if they aren’t participating.

“It has been amazing to see the ladies help other tenants that previously knitted regain the skill or those wishing to learn and gain confidence.

“Over 50 hats have been knitted and donated to the unit and as a development we couldn’t be prouder of these talented women.”

Social interaction is always a high priority for Bield, helping to keep tenants engaged and build relationships with their neighbours.

Bield has been providing high quality housing and related services in Scotland for nearly 50 years, promoting a ‘Free to Be’ ethos that allows older people to live independent lives with help on hand.

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