The Warm Baby Project for Uganda and Samos– Gilfach Goch Branch

In their last meeting before the lockdown, the branch decided to take on a new project “The Warm Baby Project” This was initially meant to be a group where people knit blankets, cardigans, canular sleeves, bonding squares  and other things for premature babies in Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the UK. There was also the opportunity to knit for baby banks as well, such as the one in Cardiff.

When the Branch Leader Edwina Smallman, got home that night from the meeting, there was an email waiting for her from the Diocesan President advising branches to no longer meet. Pretty quickly, all the hospitals shut down their appeals and there was nowhere to send their knitted items, nevertheless, after some phone calls they decided that they would go ahead and keep the knitting stash for when the hospitals reopened.

After a few weeks, two appeals came through, one for Uganda and one for a refugee camp in Samos. The requirements and sizes were pretty different from the Premature Bay Units they were going to knit for, but all members together with some amazing people outside the group, rose to the occasion  and started knitting bigger sizes (6+ months). The branch was also joined by members of St Lleurwg’s Hirwaun Mothers’ Union in this project. As a result, they were then able to send 2 parcels – one weighing 2 kilograms and delivered successfully, to Kampala in Uganda on July 31st and the other to Samos weighing 9 kilograms and delivered on August 10th.

Samos is a Greek island situated in the Aegean Sea and is home to a huge Refugee camp. The camp was built for 640 people, but it now houses over 3,700, with unaccompanied children forced to sleep on the floor of windowless and overcrowded containers.  Seventy-eight unaccompanied minors were found in tents or abandoned derelict houses outside the camp, in unofficial extensions to the facility.    The appeal is for short sleeved babies’ cardigans aged 6 months + and blankets over 22” long, but they will take anything from new-born to older children sizes. They are desperate, most of the refugees are families from Syria and Iraq, and they turn up at the camp in Samos with only the clothes they stand up in, now they are ill prepared to face the coming winter.

Llandaff Diocese is delighted that members from Gilfach Goch and Hirwaun have a chance to help others with their knitting skills but are appealing for your help. The parcel to Samos cost nearly £25 to send and, we are planning to send another parcel/box as soon as we can fill it, but definitely in time for Christmas.  The branches are grateful for all the help they have received and welcome anyone who would like to join them. They are also looking for anyone that has any spare wool or who would like to donate to the cost of the postage to send the parcels.

The most popular things needed (for the UK and Abroad) are New-born and 6 months cardigans/jumpers, and blankets over 22” long.

Please contact Edwina Smallman if you can help in any way.