When Jean Percival purchased and moved into her new Churchill Retirement Living apartment at St Francis Lodge in Solihull, she hoped she would make new friends and get involved with the communal activities on offer. What she didn’t anticipate was an old knitting hobby turning into her very own ‘In Stitches’ residents group at the Lodge contributing to a range of different charities.
Mrs Percival comments: “I moved into my new Churchill apartment in the February and it was in the October, once I had settled in, that I thought about starting to knit again, which I had always enjoyed. The only problem was that I didn’t have anyone to knit for anymore! A friend of mine told me that she was knitting for a charity in Africa which sparked the idea of knitting for charity.”
After putting up a notice at the Lodge to see if anyone else might be interested, Mrs Percival found herself with a group of six keen knitters all committed to the cause! Their first task was agreeing on a name and a suitable charity to benefit from their hard stitching.
Mrs Percival comments: “The group’s name was chosen for two reasons. Firstly, so that we weren’t knitting exclusive and Owners could sew or crochet if they wished and secondly, because we certainly do not take ourselves too seriously and whilst we knit, we chat away and mostly have a laugh! Sometimes at the shapes and sizes that appear from our work!”
After group discussion, the ‘In Stitches’ group were all agreed that they would keep their charity a little closer to home and decided to knit for The Greyhound Trust.
She comments: “Our first batch of eight blankets, after six months, was presented to The Greyhound Trust, who visited the Lodge and brought a lovely greyhound to see us and test our blankets! It was wonderful! Six months and another eight blankets later and we had a trip out to the present our blankets to The Dogs Trust at Leamington Spa.”
Fast forward another 12 months and the group was presenting 15 blankets to The Salvation Army for use in their hostels.
Mrs Percival comments: “The day we all met Majors Mandy and Steve White to learn about the work of The Salvation Army, including their hostels and food bank, really was such a memorable occasion. I already volunteered for The Army every Monday so discussed with them the possibility of donating our blankets. When we officially presented 15 beautiful, patchwork blankets, bursting with colour and containing well over 1000 squares, it felt fantastic and like all of our painstaking hard work over the months before was worth it. We felt we were making a real difference.”
‘In Stitches’ still gets together every three weeks at at 2.00pm and is now 14 strong. With wool donated from a variety of different sources, the group never runs out and a 50p donation from each participant each week ensures that tea and biscuits are plentiful.
Mrs Percival comments: “Outside of the charity element, I guess the wonderful thing about ‘In Stitches’ is the community it has created. When I had the idea back in 2012, I never imagined we would have 14 regular knitters all committed to getting together to not only knit for charity but just have fun together. We even have a member who doesn’t knit so she makes the tea! My granddaughter also comes along in her school holidays. I guess that is the real beauty of Churchill Retirement Living. The sky's the limit in terms of community activities and the Lodge is ever so supportive of any ideas that Owners have.”
For Owners at Churchill Retirement Living’s St Francis Lodge development ‘In Stitches’ is one of a whole range of communal activities that can be enjoyed. With less to worry about, Owners have more time to do the things they enjoy, including taking advantage of the host of other benefits on offer including having family or friends to stay in the development’s well-appointed Guest Suite, taking some time out in the on-site Wellbeing Suite and enjoying a chat with neighbours, or attending one of the many events, in the Owners’ Lounge.
Just two apartments remain for sale at St Francis Lodge. None other than the show apartments, priced from £239,950, both come complete with carpets, curtains, light fittings and fireplace and interior furnishings. Plus reserve and legally complete by the 24th April 2015 and £20,000 will be deducted from the price!
For more information on our developments, or to arrange a visit, call 0121 222 1405. For further information on Churchill Retirement Living, click here.