Hats for Homeless is a new Uniting initiative meets some of the more practical needs of people experiencing homelessness.

The idea has seen local church ministers, congregations, and tertiary students joinwith Uniting Residential Aged Care, Chaplains, and a local Men’s Shed to make hundreds of beanies for those sleeping rough in Winter.

Leading on from this event, beanies were distributed across NSW to churches and services supporting vulnerable communities including Wayside Chapel, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, St. Stephen’s Early Bird Café, and the Medically Supervised Injecting Rooms in Kings Cross.

Insights spoke to Tash Holmes, a Church Engagement Leader with Uniting who oversees this project.

The first knitathon ran in June 2019 and was hosted by Leichardt Uniting Church. It brought together around 40 knitters from local churches, Tertiary Ministry, Uniting Aged Care, and Uniting Chaplaincy.

“The highlight was seeing so many people connecting across the parts of our organisation that don’t often have the chance to meet,” Ms Holmes said.

“Aged care residents sharing stories with University students, Ministers having meaningful conversations with Uniting staff, all the while knitting away for a great cause.”

The lockdown caused by COVID-19 need not mean that the cause stops.

“There is a growing community who connect and share resources across NSW. We have just launched the DIY training videos, so people can still connect and learn how to knit beanies from home.”

“Because people are house bound right now, it’s the perfect time to knit beanies,” Ms Holmes said.

“Not only is there the opportunity to connect with other knitters across NSW, you’re supporting a great cause in caring for vulnerable people sleeping rough this winter.”

“Our plan is to launch this as an Annual Winter Appeal and have many communities hosting Knit-a-thons across NSW. The team is currently working on a ‘Train the Trainer’ model so communities can learn how to knit quality beanies and then go on and teach their communities.

“Uniting Chaplaincy also have plans to make this available through all their programming as well including their prison ministries.”

For more information, visit the Hats for Homeless Facebook page or email Tash Holmes on naholmes@uniting.org

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