The aim of this project was for the St Helen’s community to send a virtual hug to others, known or unknown, by means of a handmade knitted, stitched, crocheted (or otherwise constructed), 3D heart with a little personal message of good wishes. The idea was to use materials people already had and existing skills with an opportunity to share tips and suggestions along the way via Teams meetings and chats.
Recipients included students’ family members and friends and also the residents of Stowford House Care Home with whom the School already has a link. Stowford House were very enthusiastic about the idea and sent me a list of residents’ first names and these were then given out to students who made a heart and wrote a personalised message for a specific individual. Each heart and message was packaged up by the sender, delayed for 72 hours in order to make sure the package was virus-free, and then posted to the Administration Manager, Roxana, for distribution.
The students responded with generosity and enthusiasm to the project and have demonstrated a great deal of creativity as well as spending very considerable time and trouble on writing the personal letters that accompanied the hearts. A number of them, I think, found the project therapeutic for themselves too in the heart of the lockdown period – being able to reach out to others and provide a source of warmth and cheer to those in very restricted isolation gave a sense of purposeful engagement for the sender in lockdown limbo as well as brightening the day of the recipient.
I was especially touched by the thoughtfulness of the students, for example, one who before the lockdown had been involved in visiting residents at Stowford House via community service (Charlotte L6A), painted a Norfolk scene for a resident who, she knew, had grown up in Norfolk; another (Channan U6G), who was convinced she could not sew a single stitch, made a lovely stitched heart decorated with buttons (each one painstakingly sewn on).