Retirement village residents knitting communities closer together

Armed with knitting needles and a variety of different coloured bales of wool, passionate residents at Bupa Glenburn Retirement Village, Auckland, are knitting communities closer together.

Every month the ‘Peggy Purl Group’ meets over tea and biscuits to knit goods to donate to local community groups and people in need.

Village Assistant Kristy Nichols says the group brings residents together.

“They turn up early and love to get involved. Some of them haven’t picked up their knitting needles in 30 years or so, so it’s a great opportunity for them to practice an old entrenched skill,” she says.

“The bonus of being able to give back to the community is a big drawcard.”

Peggy Purl is not just about choosing patterns and connecting stitches, it’s also about connecting residents with their communities and providing for those in need.

“The group creates beautiful blankets, booties and scarves and are able to deliver them directly to people who need them. That includes people who are impoverished, people who have been in an abusive relationship, a whole range of people,” Kristy says.

“I’ve had very positive responses from our residents, their families and the communities alike. Once they understand what we're doing here and what it's part of, people want to be involved. Whether it is donating wool, supporting whenever they can or providing tea and biscuits, it’s the small things,” she says.

Bupa Glenburn Retirement Village resident Kareen Macdonald says it’s something she looks forward to every month.

“The final result is very fulfilling because it gives us an opportunity give a little back to community groups in our area,” she says.

Kareen’s close friend contributes too, donating the wool she uses.

“The blankets are very gratefully received on every occasion which gives us a lot of satisfaction.”

Recently the team donated more than four large boxes filled with knitted goods to Shine, a national domestic abuse charity that helps keep people safe from domestic violence.

“These blankets and the adorable booties are going to make such a difference,” Shine’s Communications and Marketing Manager Holly Carrington says.

“Our advocates will love delivering these to our clients on behalf of the lovely women here at Bupa Glenburn Village.”

Holly says many of the people coming to Shine for help have fled their homes and arrive with nothing, which makes the knitted goods all the more special.

“When we can provide them with something which is not just practical and useful but also handmade and beautiful, and they know someone made it with love, it just makes such a difference for these families,” Carrington says.

For Kristy, the highlight of Peggy Purl is seeing the smile on the residents’ faces.

“It’s the look on their faces when they’re showing their most recent creations of beauty, when they know it’s going to someone who really needs it and will appreciate it.”

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