Charity knitting – is it worthwhile?

I recently read about this appeal from Oxfam which is calling for knitters to knit a square for a giant blanket. This blanket will be handed into the Government as a ‘patchwork against poverty petition’, to demand a world where everyone has access to free basic healthcare.

Now whilst I’m all for a ‘world where everyone has access to free basic healthcare’ and supporting charities that are trying to achieve this (see www.medicmalawi.org), I wonder is knitting a giant blanket really a worthwhile task?

What’s going to happen to this huge blanket once it’s been handed in to Number 10? Apparently it will be made into smaller blankets and sold to raise money for other projects. (Someone said at places like Glastonbury!) They don’t send them abroad anymore because it is cheaper to source blankets in the country where they are needed. A fair point I guess.

But will making this blanket really make any difference to anyone’s life? 250,000 squares, which is what Oxfam aims to collect, would make an awful lot of regular sized blankets, which could be given to people who really need them – the homeless and those in extreme poverty both here in the UK and in the Third World.

I thought the same about Water Aid’s giant knitted river last year, however the river appears to have been used well since its creation – only a portion of it was handed in to Number 10 and the rest of it has been displayed at various places where it has apparently raised an awareness for the Water Aid campaign not otherwise possible. So as a marketing tool, the giant knitted river seems to have worked well for them.  I’m not sure how I feel about helping with an organisation’s marketing though.

This topic was being discussed on Ravelry recently and someone posted this link to Feed The Children which seems like a very worthy cause if you want to do some charity knitting. A friend wrote on her blog about  Save the Children UK who are also asking knitters to make hats for newborn babies in developing countries. As part of the campaign they are also asking the knitter to fill in a card, to be sent with the hat, which will go to the Prime Minister asking him to do more to help children in the Third World. I like the way they’ve done this. The knitted item is still useful, and you can still ask politicians to do something to help. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s all a bit vague as to what you can ask the PM to do.

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3 thoughts on “Charity knitting – is it worthwhile?

  1. Oxfam have written on their website that they will split the big blanket into lots of little ones to sell all over the country in their stores.

    Apparently, it is better to do this than send them abroad as it is more cost effective to buy local blankets for people.

  2. Yes, I know.

    I’m just in two minds about it. I can see how they need to raise money for other things, like their midwife training scheme in Yemen and this is one way of doing it.

    However when I think of the homeless that will be sleeping out on the streets of Plymouth tonight, or the children in India sleeping on the streets, the thought of these blankets being sold at Glastonbury just seems a bit of a waste.

    It would be interesting to know how much money they raise from these blankets in the end.

  3. I have mixed feelings about the giant blanket for Wateraid having recently read that part of the blanket was given to animal shelters. The RSPCA have enough in the bank & enough followers to supply pets with blankets. I just hope that my 16 squares is keeping a person warm & not a cat.

    I support Feed The Children & they will ALWAYS take blankets amongst other things. In fact, I’ve made a delivery for them today & about to send off 300 hats to Save The Children which “my knitters” have made. As of today they are up to 40K of the 50K target.

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