Based in Stockport town centre, Krafty Needles serves a dual purpose in its local community.

Firstly, the weekly knitting group provides an opportunity for members of the local community to come together, knit, socialise, and share skills. Secondly, the garments created are donated to local neonatal units for premature babies and local homeless charities.

The group works closely with a number of hospitals, including Stepping Hill and St Mary’s, to knit items for babies that have been born prematurely. Often premature babies cannot fit into clothes made for newborns in high street shops, so clothes knitted by the group give comfort to parents and warmth to the baby when they need it the most.

The group also donates hats, scarves and blankets to homeless people across Stockport, coordinating with a local homeless charity. This provides people who are living on the street with high-quality knits that keep them warm during the colder months.

Support from Forever Manchester has made a huge impact on the group – so much so, that they are now a self-sustaining group that no longer needs to seek funding.

Sarah Byrne, who is now the group’s Chair, started attending the group with her mum a few years ago. Sarah had suffered with mental health problems for a long time and was very introverted and anxious. Sarah asked if she could become a volunteer and, with growing confidence, she took on another voluntary role at the local hospital’s café. Sarah recently accepted a part-time job at the café, which is her first job for a very long time.

Sarah said: “If it was not for my mum asking me to come along to the group with her, and the staff being so good with me, I don’t think I would be as well as I am today. The group has given me so much confidence. This group helps to support a number of people, as well as giving back to the community. It gives people something to focus on, they also make new friends and become less isolated.”