Knitters raise thousands of pounds for NHS charity

A volunteer has helped raise £8,000 for hospital staff and patients after combining two of her pastimes.

By David Sedgwick
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 10:23 am
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2022, 12:14 pm
Kathy Nixon with some of the knitted items.
Kathy Nixon with some of the knitted items.

Kathy Nixon, from Stannington, started helping out in the volunteer service (NVS) shop at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington when it opened in 2015.

The retired mental health nurse, who switched careers later in life after being made redundant from her role as an insurance clerk, is also a member of Cramlington Rotary Club.

She came up with the idea of knitting baby clothes when she started as a volunteer with the trust and roped in some fellow club members to join her.

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A core team of four knitters, with others brought in when products are ‘selling at an alarming rate’, create cardigans, matinée coats, blankets, romper suits, hats and mittens.

All are sold in the NVS shops in the trust’s hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside, with every single penny going into Northumbria Healthcare’s Bright charity.

The baby clothes have proved very popular, raising more than £8,000 since they first went on sale.

The money raised goes towards improving the hospital environment, buying specialist equipment and providing the little extras which make a real difference to the experience of patients.

The trust’s head of charity, Brenda Longstaff, said: “This is a fantastic achievement and a clear example of just how much our volunteers contribute to what goes on in our hospitals and other sites.”

Northumbria Healthcare has more than 300 volunteers, who carry out a range of roles, from working in the shops to assisting patients at mealtimes and facilitating ward activities.

Kathy, 68, said: “I love being a volunteer. I thought it was a good opportunity to get involved when the new hospital opened and I’ve not looked back since.”

For more about becoming a trust volunteer for its shops, meet and greet service and befrienders, contact the volunteer team on 0191 203 1511 or email [email protected]

Lynn McCormack, Northumbria Healthcare’s operation service manager for volunteers, said: “I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in helping out at their local hospital to get in touch, as hours are to suit and our volunteers find that it’s an interesting, varied and worthwhile way to give something back to the community.”