Young people receiving care from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) have created a long-lasting legacy to give hope and comfort to future patients by stitching positive thoughts into a special Cloth of Kindness.
The initiative has seen patients aged between 12 and 18 who are receiving treatment at the Dragonfly Unit, in Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft, work with volunteers from the Cloth of Kindness project to create individual patches featuring messages of kindness.
The patches have then been stitched together into a blanket, which will be available to any patient to use during their admission to give them comfort and hope.
Louise Weddle from Suffolk County Council, who is Education Manager at The Attic school based at the unit, said the project had been really well-received by service users, who spent eight weeks creating their designs.
"This has been such a lovely thing for the young people to do, and a real collaboration between the NHS, Cloth of Kindness volunteers and the school, which is run by Suffolk County Council," said Louise. "The project was really inclusive and the young people didn't need any experience with a needle and thread to get involved.
"We went to see some of the other blankets which the volunteers have helped to create and found it really inspirational and very grounding. It also gave our service users the chance to engage with the community outside of the Dragonfly Unit, which is important.
"The young people chose the messages they wanted to stitch, which include words like 'trust', 'believe' and 'appreciation', as well as vibrant colours to use. The idea is that anyone who is admitted to the unit in the future and is struggling will be able to wrap themselves in the blanket and surround themselves with kindness.
"The project will leave a lasting legacy for future patients, which is a really beautiful idea."
Ben Richardson, Ward Manager at the Dragonfly Unit, said: "The Cloth of Kindness has offered a wonderful opportunity to bring both the young people and staff together, creating a shared piece and using it as an opportunity to express themselves in a creative way. It has been a therapeutic and mindful experience for the people involved and it is brilliant that their work can be used as a comfort to young people on the unit later down the line."
The young people were so grateful to the volunteers from Cloth of Kindness for helping them with the project that they organised a bake sale so that they could make a donation towards future projects.
Sally-Anne Lomas, from Cloth of Kindness, said: "It was a great joy to work with the wonderful young people at the Attic School at the Dragonfly Unit. Each patch may only contain a few embroidered words but behind them lie much deeper stories of courage and compassion. We hope the finished Cloth of Kindness brings comfort and hope to future students."
NSFT Chaplain Julie Warren, who initiated the project, said: “Cloth of Kindness do such good work and I thought it would be the perfect activity for the young people at Dragonfly to get involved in. I'm delighted they found it therapeutic. They have created something that will continue to bring comfort to patients long after they have moved on in their recovery.”
Cllr Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Education and Skills at Suffolk County Council, said: "This is a great project that brings people together to share their experiences and stories as well as producing something collectively to support and benefit others."
For more information about the Cloth of Kindness initiative, visit: www.clothofkindness.co.uk
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