There are still a few days to go to view the Knitted House in Norwich Cathedral – it is up until October 27. Find out how the idea came about and how it all came together!
The house conveys the scale of homelessness in a way that people can comprehend – and it provided people with an opportunity to get involved. It started off with a person from Norwich called Moira, who knits scarves and hats every year to give to the people St Martins supports. Moira is friends with Phil, who co-ordinates our learning and development centre Under 1 Roof. Phil and Moira got talking about what it would look like to knit a scarf for every rough sleeper in the country.
Phil thought we should give it a go!
To display this as an art installation on a house would be a fitting demonstration of the scale of the problem. Phil called Mark Pitcher, of M A Pitcher Builders Ltd – a local building firm and longstanding supporter of St Martins. Mark was happy to come and design a 5m by 6m timber structure with a pitched roof. Over the following weeks he gave up his time for free to prepare the house. Longwater Supplies got on board by providing the materials to Mark.
St Martins enjoys great support from Norwich Cathedral, who offered to host the house in the North Transept.
Everything seemed to be in place so we started to spread the word that we wanted scarves – we asked our supporters, staff, clients to knit, as well as people from churches, libraries, WI groups and businesses and of course the amazing Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers. The scarves started coming in thick and fast throughout the summer – and not just from Norfolk – from all over the country and beyond. Some wonderful volunteers, including Jan, Gill and Christine, helped sew some of the scarves into sections for the roof and a talented crocheter Ros designed a special ‘St Martin’s’ scarf for display over the door.
So far hundreds of people have visited and it has raised £2,000 to date. This money will go towards our new accommodation project for homeless people in Norwich.We are thrilled with the response and how moved people are by the house. Hundreds of school children visited the house during Norfolk Schools Week and it has been a good opportunity to talk about homelessness and what is being done to prevent it.
A big thank you to so many people – please take the opportunity to visit over the coming days.
What about afterwards?
We will give some scarves to the people we support but there will be a lot left over. We want to make sure they are put to good use, so if you know of any charities or people who can make use of them, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org