We are co-ordinating a project called The Knitted House, which will be ready for public view in Norwich Cathedral in October.
Last year 4,677 people slept rough in England and this fact will be represented by a house constructed out of wool – where each knitted scarf ‘brick’ represents a person who slept on the streets. Since the appeal for knitters to get involved was made in the spring, hundreds of scarves have arrived at St Martins’ headquarters ready to form the knitted house.
The idea for the project came from Phillip Rowe, who co-ordinates the charity’s training centre which provides learning and development opportunities for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Phillip said, “I’m really pleased that what started off as a bizarre idea is becoming a reality! I think it’s going to look fantastic and we’re really encouraged that so many people have got behind the concept.”
Hundreds of individuals, charities, businesses and community groups have got involved in the project, including the newly formed Toftwood WI, who stitched 29 scarves. Members of the Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers, who have 138 groups across Norfolk and over 2,000 members, have delivered 202 beautifully knitted and crocheted pieces. Organiser Linda Brown said, “Our members love to get involved in charity projects and we are pleased to be able to knit for good causes. We were given a clear brief and plenty of time so we could get the message out amongst the groups across the county.”
The finished house will be on display in Norwich Cathedral between October 7 and 27, to coincide with World Homeless Day on October 10. The structure will be built by Longwater Supplies, who are longstanding supporters of St Martins. The Knitted House project has been supported by Norwich cathedral, who have offered the space to accommodate the house in the North Transept of the cathedral.
The Revd Canon Andy Bryant, the Cathedral’s Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care said, “People who are homeless should be accepted as individuals and not prejudged by their situation or challenges. Each ‘brick’ of the knitted house is unique and represents a person. Often homeless people experience a loss of identity so the diversity of the scarves reminds us of the distinctive and individual nature of each individual and their story.”
Organisers anticipate that the end result will look colourful and impacting and members of the public will visit and take the opportunity to find out more about homelessness and of the work of St Martins.
At the end of the project, the house will be dismantled and the scarves will be donated to homeless people and those in need in Norfolk. Some of the scarves will be available for sale to raise funds for St Martins’ new accommodation project in Norwich.
The deadline for sending scarves in is September 15. While we don’t have 4,677, we do have enough to cover the house (about 2,000) and the proportion of black scarves to represent those who died on the streets is about right (about 200). If you are still working on the scarves, please feel free to send them in or drop them off at the Cathedral donations desk. Thank you so much for all your efforts.