Close-knit charity scheme

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 11/03/2014
L’Ann van Emmenis
RAYMOND BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ
WELL SPUN: Timaru Hospital emergency department clerical assistant L’Ann van Emmenis with some of the items knitted for charity by people waiting in the emergency room. 

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People are knitting away the hours as they wait in Timaru Hospital's emergency department.

Wool, knitting needles and a sign inviting people to knit for a variety of charities, including Knit for Africa and Plunket, greet visitors as they arrive at the emergency department.

Department clerical assistant L'Ann van Emmenis was inspired to start this initiative after learning about the Knit for Africa charity organisation.

It provides blankets and other knitted items for babies born into an environment where they are often sent home wrapped in newspaper.

"I wanted to do some charity work after moving from South Africa, but nothing had moved me until I learnt about these babies being sent home in newspaper and it broke my heart," Mrs Van Emmenis said.

Since the initiative began partway through last year, 20 blankets have been made and eight more are ready to be sewn up. A mixture of cardigans, teddy bears and hats have also been knitted.

"It has been so great. I'm hoping to take it to other parts of the hospital," Mrs Van Emmenis said.

Emergency clinical nurse manager Rachel Mills said she had seen a positive effect from the knitting in the waiting area.

"It has stopped people feeling so helpless as they are waiting. They are starting the knitting in the waiting room and bringing it in as they visit their friends and family in the hospital," Mrs Mills said.

Mrs Van Emmenis said the only issue they have is that the demand for wool is greater than the supply and they are running out.

"We need more wool," she said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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