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Newark community Knit and Natter to raise awareness of mental health

10 May 2018

Keen knitters from Southwell will come together to ‘knit and natter’ this month to raise awareness of Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) and create gifts for a local care home.

The group of Newark and Sherwood Homes tenants from Burgage Close community centre have been working to create lovely warm blankets for neighbours from a local care home, Southwell Court.

Knit and natter group meets every Thursday at Burgage Close to give local people an opportunity to talk to fellow residents, tackle loneliness and promote health initiatives. This week’s meeting will be dedicated to raising awareness of the national campaign and promoting conversations surrounding mental health including topics such as stress, depression and loneliness.

David Walker – who has championed the transformed Burgage Close community centre - said: “When we met with Newark and Sherwood Homes last year, the centre was totally underused. We had this lovely space here but nobody knew what to do with it, so we started talking about different things that we could organise for the benefit of residents at the Burgage. Tenants here are mostly single older people, we only have two couples living here, most people live on their own and loneliness very often starts to creep in when you’re in that situation.”

“Last year I was diagnosed with serious depression. For most of my life I have been working 50-60 hours a week but because of a health condition, I’m not able to work anymore. When you’ve been used to working and being around people for all your life, you feel at a loose end when you have nothing to do.”

“I am really passionate about raising awareness of mental health, and bringing together people locally, so it was fantastic to create these blankets for residents at Southwell Court. Getting involved with the community centre helps me to get better and it gives me a focus in life. I’m grateful to be a part of this community and hopefully I can help other residents who might struggle with similar problems.”

Wendy Oldfield, activities coordinator at Southwell Court said: “Our residents are extremely grateful for the gifts from tenants at Burgage Close and it’s a lovely way of keeping them involved in the community. It was a great excuse to have coffee and cakes and hopefully this will be the beginning of a new friendship between the two knit and natter groups. We are planning to visit the Burgage with some of our residents in the near future to get to know each other a bit better.”

Mental Health Awareness Week is a national initiative which aims to encourage communities to hold events and campaign to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing.