Jackie Edge from our Birmingham Hub revisits last October’s successful Facebook challenge.
Last October the Community Fundraising team launched a new type of fundraising challenge. Facebook challenges usually involve getting sweaty – be it walking 100km in a month or doing more press-ups per day than I could do in my entire lifetime! But this time was different.
The challenge: knitting for all 31 days of October. And this time our fundraisers could do the challenge whilst having a cup of tea and a biscuit! A group of over 4000 crafters – we let crocheters join in too -knitted, pearled, and stitched their way through the autumn, magnificently raising over £50,000.
Our knitters were a variety of people who valued home and community life, who made hats for neonatal wards, blankets for nursing homes, and toy bears to sell at fetes. Some who joined the challenge held ‘knit and natter’ mornings: getting friends together to do a hobby they love, creating something beautiful, useful, or both, all the while having fun. Patterns were shared, and lessons passed on, from how to cast off, to more complicated skills such as knitting a heel on a sock! One person was the chief sewer-upper – as apparently, a lot of members love knitting squares for blankets but aren’t as keen on sewing the squares together. Our sewing-up hero highlighted the sense of teamwork in the group.
The teamwork was apparent amongst our Shelter staff too. Everyone pulled together to help with moderating and the training and expertise shared among us was invaluable. Our Bristol Community Fundraiser even took part in the challenge herself; knitting the cutest bears and dogs with little tartan bow ties.
Initially, we hoped all participants would be sponsored to knit or crochet daily. It soon became apparent that many wanted to knit hats and blankets for homeless people as their way of supporting us. This meant we got to work alongside our amazing Retail team who enabled crafters to send their creations to our shops to be sold on to support our work to defend the right to a safe home.
It is this sense of community and collaboration that is also fostered in The Knitting Network. The company offers free knitting patterns and has a Facebook group in which members share their knits. This February, everyone shopping on their website has the option to round up their purchase to the nearest pound and these donations are going to support our work to end the housing emergency. The Knitting Network will also match these donations, and therefore double the money coming in to support the #FIGHTFORHOME.
Inspired to fundraise for us? Browse some of our other challenge events!