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Somerset mental health support group knit for Blind Veterans UK

Date
1 July 2014 14:47

Members of a local Somerset community support group for people battling mental health issues are picking up their knitting needles to help blind military veterans.

Clients supported by the Carlton Centre in Weston-Super-Mare have been knitting to raise money for Blind Veterans UK. The Centre is supporting Blind Veterans UK's Knit a Tank Top challenge, a national event to create a patchwork quilt large enough to cover an armoured tank.

The Centre supports local residents with mental health issues, substance abuse addiction or those who are long-term unemployed and has been serving the community for 11 years. As well as running courses to help its clients back into full-time employment, the Centre runs more general therapeutic courses.

63-year-old Bob Mason, one of the knitters involved in the group, said: "This was the first time I'd ever tried knitting, but it won't be the last.

"I'm ex-Service myself - I served in the 1st Battalion, the Light Infantry - so when the Centre suggested knitting for veterans, it sounded like something I'd like to try.

"So far, I've only really got used to knitting or crocheting squares, but I'm endeavouring to keep it up and try something more advanced next time - it's definitely another feather in my cap."

Joan Urch, Community Learning Development Worker for the Centre, said: "We've been offering knitting at the Centre for a while - a lot of our clients find it very therapeutic and something that gives you a real sense of achievement when you're finished.

"Veterans are in the news regularly these days, with the centenary of the First World War and the withdrawal of the main UK force from Afghanistan this year. Knowing that we are able to help men and women who have served in the Forces and are now suffering from sight loss was a real spur for us."

Squares knitted by the Centre's clients will feature on a giant patchwork quilt, set to cover a military tank at the Shoreham Air Show on August 30th-31st.
Blind Veterans UK is still looking for keen knitters to help complete the Knit a Tank Top challenge. To sign up for Knit a Tank Top, please visit the event page or contact Rachel Chitty on 01273 391455 or email rachel.chitty@blindveterans.org.uk.