Local neighbourhood house crafts human connection

Words and photos by Jenni Mazaraki

Pat learned to knit when she was eight years old.

“I had to learn to knit my own jumper or go without.” said Pat. That was many years ago. The jumper was red with blue stripes. Today, Pat is crocheting squares for a blanket to give to someone she will never meet.

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“People are very grateful.” Pat knits and crochets for local charities.

Judy and Pat had never met before attending the new Creative Collective group at Greenhills Neighbourhood House, established by Coordinator, Anna Lee. They knit and crochet, keeping their hands busy, sharing tips and skills and having a chat. Anna is new to knitting and is learning new skills from Pat and Judy, including a stitch which the group has named ‘Anna’s stitch.’

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“It’s social.” The group brings people like Judy and Anna together for a chat while they knit.

Neighbourhood houses are not for profit organisations that run programs and activities to support the needs of the local community.

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Neighbourhood Houses encourage community involvement in program development.

Greenhills has been a part of the Greensborough community for over 30 years and has a focus of maintaining affordable activities accessible for all ages.

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Greenhills Neighbourhood House is set in a natural bushland setting in Greensborough.

The cost of activities may be a barrier to participation for some people. “Some people may find it hard to even buy a ball of wool,” said Pat. Having a group to come to that is free or low cost removes financial barriers and encourages engagement.

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“I don’t like that colour.” Pat tells Anna it looks like mustard.

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“There’s always something to learn from someone else.” Pat’s crochet squares pile up each week.

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“It’s a de-stresser, it calms me down.” Judy finds busy hands a great focus and knits regularly.

Judy knits beanies for a charity that sends knitted handmade goods to people who need them all over Australia. “They’re knitted with love,” said Judy. Craft products like the group’s woollen goods can be a powerful tool. Not only can the creation of these items bring people together, creating a place of belonging and a relaxed, social opportunity, but the final products can serve as a reminder of the comfort that a handmade object can bring to someone.

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Crochet squares are made from bits and pieces of wool and will be sewn together into a blanket for someone as an unexpected comfort.

The Creative Collective art and craft group is a place where group members can bring a creative project to work on every Wednesday during terms, 12.30 to 2.30pm. New members are warmly welcomed.

 

(Please note that Jenni works at Greenhills Neighbourhood House as Project Officer/Communications.)

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