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For many of us, the latest lockdown has given us more time on our hands than we ever thought we’d have.

But for two of our customers, it has given them a chance to use that time wisely – by knitting baby clothes and donating them to a premature baby unit. Two bromford customers and a basket of knitted baby clothes for a premature baby unit.

Dorothy Darby and Olwyn Silwood, along with the kindness and generosity of their neighbours, have been keeping busy throughout the pandemic.  

Dorothy has always donated baby clothes to New Cross Hospital’s Neonatal Unit in Wolverhampton, from the charity shop where she is a trustee. When covid-19 struck, donations to the charity shop, and directly to the hospital, started to dry up.  

So Dorothy decided she would begin knitting baby clothes again as knitting had been a lifelong hobby for herAs word spread through our retirement living community School Gardens, in Stourport-on-Severn, some of the residents also wanted to do their bit. Donations of wool and cash to buy wool came flooding in.  

Having not knitted for seven years after a stroke, Olwyn was unsure whether she would be able to pick up where she left off. But with encouragement from Dorothy and her daughter Debbie, Olwyn has knitted many outfits. Dorothy said this had given Olwyn a ‘life-changing’ boost throughout the lockdown and she has been delighted to be able to get involved.  

Although lockdown has put donations on hold for the time being, Dorothy and Olywn are continuing to knit at home and are building up quite a collection of baby knitwear ready for the time when it can be donated again.  

Dorothy said: “We’re pleased to have been able to make a difference and have had some lovely letters thanking us for what we’re doing. We’ve even had people say they’ve lost a glove when they’ve put on hand sanitizer, so we’ve knitted some pairs that you can push back into your sleeve and store safely.” 

Scheme manager Laura Wood added: “It’s a great feeling to know that residents have built relationships where they can support each other and work together to help such a wonderful cause, even throughout the most challenging of times. To know that other residents have also supported the cause gives a real sense of community spirit and that’s what really is at the heart of School Gardens.” 

Our retirement living communities provide opportunities for people later in life to live independently within their own homes, with easy access to friends, neighbours and facilities as well as care and support when they need it. 

Both Dorothy and Olwyn are really proud of what they are doing and hope that other residents will join them and create an even more closely ‘knit’ community.  

If you have a question about the coronavirus situation, please visit our frequently asked questions page at