Orkney SWI knit hundreds of teddies for nursery children
Around 350 nursery children in schools across Orkney will receive the gift of a knitted teddy to hug thanks to the efforts of a group of dedicated Orkney SWI members.
The first batches were delivered to Mainland nurseries at Dounby, Evie, Firth, Glaitness, Orphir, St Andrews, Stenness, Stromness and the Strynd this week. More teddies will be on their way to their new isles and linked South Isles homes comes August.
Orkney Scottish Women’s Institute (SWI) President Ann Linklater explained that they had been inspired by the story of the Papdale Nursery bairns who received a batch of 94 teddies from a group of knitters from south.
“We heard how proud the bairns were to receive them so, after approaching and getting permission from Orkney’s Education Service, we got in touch with Karen Walter who was able to give us the required number of teddies for the rest of the nurseries in Orkney.
“A request was sent out to all Institutes in the county for approximately 350 teddies to be knitted - as usual the response was very good, and we got some help from friends too and this was greatly appreciated by myself.
“With such a large number required it was decided to donate to the Mainland schools ahead of the summer break, with the isles, including the linked isles of Burray and South Ronaldsay receiving their teddies in August.”
The SWI is a social, friendly, forward-thinking organisation which brings women together to share their heritage, develop skills , find support and friendship.
Ann continued: “There are shows and competitions at Institute, Federation or National level which are not compulsory but great camaraderie is enjoyed. I have found this organisation very advantageous , learning new crafts and meeting many new friends at Federation and National level having been a member for over 40 years.”
Ann is hopeful that Institutes will be able to meet together again in person soon.
“Over the lockdown we have been able to keep in touch via Zoom but it will be much nicer to see everyone in person again.”
OIC Service Manager Early Learning and Childcare, Catherine Diamond, said: “We thank the ladies for their sterling efforts which has brought a smile to many this week. We know these special teddy bears will be well loved.”
Papdale Nursery received their teddy bears after Nursery Manager Caroline Easton contacted The Haven in Stonehaven. Caroline had read of the great work in their community, with knitted teddy bears just one aspect.
Caroline had been conscious of how hard the lockdowns had been on some of the children, particularly the lack of physical contact and a simple hug – and that’s where the special knitted teddies came in.