Busy Fingers

20 August 2022

Heather Harrison and June Goldsmith

Patients at the Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Unit are feeling the love, thanks to a group of crafty residents at Metlifecare’s Longford Park Village in Takanini.

In the past five months, village residents have crocheted over 100 blankets for spinal unit patients – each one delivered with a handmade card and words of encouragement from its maker. The two women driving the project – June Goldsmith and Heather Harrison (both 79) – say the opportunity to support those in need has been “a win-win”.

“This is an amazing project,” says June.“ Those in the spinal unit are grateful for the rugs and those making the rugs have been given a real sense of purpose. It’s wonderful to be able to express love in a practical way to those who are facing a difficult future.”

The project kicked of earlier this year after a friend of June’s was tragically paralysed from a fall and transferred to the spinal unit.

“I decided to crochet him a blanket to keep him cosy and remind him of how special he is to me.”

June knew he’d love the rug – but she was not expecting all the other patients to love it too! After mentioning their reaction to her friend Heather, things snowballed.

“Heather promptly donated seven rugs she had made, and one of the managers at charity organisation Spinal Support NZ put a call out on Facebook for donations of wool. The community response was overwhelming. Before we knew it, two van loads of boxes filled with new wool turned up at Longford Park Village!”

A handful of village residents put up their hands to help, dusting off their crochet hooks to craft scores of colourful rugs “just the right size for wheelchairs”. With each rug taking over 16 hours to complete, it has - quite literally – been a labour of love.

“Who knew a project like this would arise from a humble rug! There are about ten of us ‘busy fingers’ working on it now, it’s a real team effort.”

Adds Heather, “The feedback from patients has been amazing. It means a lot to know that something as simple as a rug can have a significant impact on someone’s psychological and physical wellbeing. Besides, we get just as much out of it as we give.”

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