Hundreds of brightly coloured jumpers have been made by an army of Newtownabbey Borough Council staff who picked up their needles to knit the woolly wonders for babies in Africa. The 650 sweaters, which were sent to the charities on Friday (12 October), were the result of a three-month knitathon started by one member of staff.
Karen McMeekan from the Council persuaded colleagues, friends and family to knit the jumpers after hearing about the appeal for sweaters for impoverished babies in Kenya and Uganda and the result was phenomenal. Karen, who made 30 jumpers herself, says “When I sent out an email asking people to knit I was really hopeful for 100 jumpers. I couldn’t believe it when the sweaters kept coming in, totalling over 600! Personally, I hadn’t knitted in years but I found it to be really relaxing and slightly addictive! I think everyone enjoyed the personal challenge as both beginners and experienced knitters joined in.”
Whilst the Council staff put in hours of work, they were helped by friends, family and people in the local community. Karen’s dental practice, Clements Dental Care knitted 56 jumpers whilst a lady from Belfast City Mission and an employee at Dunelm Mill also picked up their knitting needles to help the appeal by charity LIFT (Labour in Faith and Trust) which is being supported by 1st Magherafelt Presbyterian Church.
The jumpers are now being shipped to Africa with both Kenya Sunbeam Ministries and the WAAKISA (Mercy) charity benefiting from the woolly warmers. Both excellent causes, the Kenya Sunbeam Ministries care for children who are HIV positive, orphaned by AIDS or have a disability which prevents them from living in the community whilst WAAKISA works with young pregnant girls in Uganda.