When Tina’s husband passed away earlier this year, she was completely at a loss as to what to do with herself. At the same time her daughter Nikki was studying community development at CIT and wanted to make a difference, even in a small way.
For a class project, Nikki and a group of like-minded classmates created a series of craft workshops intended to address increased mental health issues in the community; particularly loneliness and isolation exacerbated by COVID.
Nikki’s mum was the inspiration behind the project.
Tina started to attend the craft sessions, just to help her daughter, but soon found the sessions an outlet for her own grief.
“Coming here once or twice a week and dealing with the girls and exchanging ideas and conversation has got me out of the house, instead of just sitting at home feeling absolutely miserable,” Tina said.
“Just seeing a couple of the boys that come along occasionally … I’ve been teaching them how to crochet a stubby holder.”
The group has been going for around a month and provides an opportunity to get to know other people in the community, form relationships, have a cuppa and a chat about anything and everything, while learning new skills.
But Nikki said there is no pressure to socialise.
“Quite often we have a separate table with people who just want to do their own thing,” she said.
“But otherwise, there’s a lot of socialising; it’s really very inclusive and at your own pace.”
Open to all ages, genders, ethnicities, beliefs and skill levels, Knits N Bits have received donations for supplies for most hand-sewing projects and have the skills to teach most crafts, which removes the barriers of cost and knowledge.
At this stage, attendance at the workshops vary and the group’s organisers are able to enjoy the slower moments with their own craft projects.
“Some weeks, we actually don’t have any participants, it’s just us. But the time flies and we don’t want to leave,” Nikki said.
“We find it very relaxing, because we’re making that time to just spend relaxing.
“For me, if I don’t make the time, I don’t do it.
Nikki began these classes wanting to make a difference in her community and do “something more important than you” and so far, finds the classes rewarding.
“Some of the girls didn’t know how to do anything when they started. And now they’re making projects and getting really excited. It’s really good.”
Knits N Bits is an ongoing event at the Mura Community and Youth Centre in Lanyon, where the space has been kindly donated.
Classes run on Tuesdays 2-4pm and Wednesdays 6-8pm.
There are limited numbers due to COVID so please contact Nikki on 0432 967 578 or Kylie on 0449 231 315; alternatively leave a message on the Facebook page Knits N Bits.
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