Our ‘Knit & Natter’ group started as a group of three ladies sat in Sainsbury’s cafe having a chat over a cup of tea.

The group was a result of a conversation about how we could support people to have better days by helping them to pursue their interests and passions. Three ladies who were all supported by Wellbeing Teams, at some point in their life had been knitters, but hadn’t picked up their needles for years. When we asked if they’d be interested in connecting with each other they were eager to get going!

The four of us met in Sainsbury’s cafe, and to mark the start of this new connection, we gifted each of the ladies a pair of knitting needles and a ball of soft wool. Admittedly, there was not a single stitch knitted at that first meeting, as the conversations about past knitting projects were in full flow. Aran cardigans, socks for their small children, blankets, tea cosies; you name it, one of them had knitted it at some point! A wonderful afternoon was had by all, and when asked if they would like this to become a regular thing, they all agreed in delight!

As the weeks went by, the number of knitters slowly increased, and we found a cosy little cafe in the centre of Ashton, ideal for such a group.

Our one off meeting of three ladies who shared a common interest, grew into a gathering of seven or so regular ladies, who as a group decided to start knitting with purpose, by working on group projects that would benefit our local community. We began by knitting squares for blankets for Alder Hey children’s hospital, then went on to knit twiddle-muffs for the dementia ward at Wigan hospital, and we are currently working on knitting scarfs for a local charity supporting people who are homeless.

One of our regular knitters Pauline, had this to say:

“I joined the Ashton Circle Knit & Natter, because I’d just recently moved into the area and didn’t know anyone yet. My daughter saw it advertised on Facebook and thought it would be good for me. So I made contact with Becky and went to meet with them. I found the group of ladies most welcoming and found it was good for me. I now have friends and love to go to it.”

Becky, who leads Ashton Circle, now has a new hobby too; up until 2 years ago she had never picked up a pair of knitting needles, but now is proud to say she has completed a number of knitting projects, all thanks to the support and teachings of the lovely ladies at Ashton Circle Knit & Natter.