Havant cafe knitting group make items for the community

Coleen Bloom with the ladies who attend Knit and Natter     Picture: Sarah Standing (170790-3797) PPP-170621-151249001
Coleen Bloom with the ladies who attend Knit and Natter Picture: Sarah Standing (170790-3797) PPP-170621-151249001
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THEY knit and they natter – it’s as simple as that.

But what’s not simple, are the creations each of the aptly-named group’s members make, not for themselves, but for the wider community in Havant.

Knit and Natter is made up of 10 women who knit everything from decorations for the high street to hats and jackets for premature babies.

And now, they’re busy knitting blankets for elderly people at The Rowans Hospice from their base – Bloomies cafe in Park Parade.

Fifty-seven-year-old group member Colleen, who runs Bloomies, said: ‘We knit blankets, hats, booties, gloves, decoration, and so much more.

‘We come into the cafe every Wednesday and knit whatever we feel like, sometimes people come in and ask us to teach them how to knit.

‘We first started up our knitting group in a centre in Sharps Road, but then moved to the cafe.

‘We’ve been going for about 18 months now.

‘It’s a better location for most of our members like 90-year-old Dot Daynes, who can get here easily on the bus.

‘Once a month we visit Fawnhope Rest Home in Leigh Park and knit with the ladies there.

‘We’ve made all the residents blankets and some neck warmers.’

The group sit to one side of Bloomies and their presence in there is so well-known, that locals bring them material donations all the time.

Bloomies is a family business owned by Colleen’s son-in-law, Matt Mennell.

He named the business after his wife Kellie’s family.

Knit and Natter recently donated £350 to The Rowans Hospice, which they raised themselves.

Colleen often sells items through the shop, as some customers come in and request special items like teapots or budgies on swings.

The group have been asked to make items to go around lampposts and trees for Leigh Park Carnival tomorrow.

Colleen, from West Leigh, added: ‘Everything we make is from materials we receive.

‘Last week a gentleman came in and gave me £12 and said, “give this to the ladies in the knitting club”.’

‘We made 260 ducks for the Air Ambulance which were all sold, and blankets that were sent to people in Syria.

‘The cafe customers love to talk to us and get involved, find out what we’re making next.

‘Sometimes children get involved too, and we let them make pom poms to hang on our indoor tree.

‘We just keep going and we enjoy what we do – everyone brings £1 in for tea and cakes, and we all have a catch up while we’re knitting.’

Debbie Watton, 53, has been involved with Knit and Natter for more than a year.

She said being a part of the group has helped her through some tough times.

Debbie said: ‘I was struggling with my health and deep depression when I got told about the group, so I went along.

‘With these women, and in this environment, you cannot be down.

‘We have such a lovely time and it’s like being with family.

‘When I lost my memory at the beginning of the year they all looked after me and made sure I could get to them.

‘I could knit when I joined but Colleen’s been teaching me how to crochet.

‘We get joy out of making things for babies and the elderly, to be able to do that has made me feel like I can give something back, and that’s amazing.’