A group of West Leeds women have played their part in supporting The Duchess of York distribute hundreds of “SOS bags” to rough sleepers during lockdown.
The Hookers and Clickers (Do It For Charity) knitting and crochet group, which usually meets at community base Unit 11 in Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park, were approached by a small national charity called Kipbag who needed some help.
Kipbag had been approached by Buckingham Palace to provide 500 KipBags, which are self-contained packs containing a sleeping bag, toiletries, warm clothing and other essentials that we make up and distribute to rough sleepers across the country.
A Kipbag spokesperson said the Royal invitation was ‘jaw dropping’ and added:
“Despite some initial problems getting hold of stock in these difficult times, we already had an ace up our sleeve: thanks to the truly amazing team of ladies at “Hookers and Clickers“, we had a lot of spare stock of items that make up a typical KipBag, such as hats, gloves, socks, toothpaste, face cloths and so on.
“We’ve been working with Hookers and Clickers (set up by Bramley’s Joanne Brophy) for a few months, and the amount of assistance and donations we’ve had from their team of knitters has been astounding. Please do check them out – this team of wonderful ladies are amazing, and were critically important for this collaboration.
“Looking back, getting hold of everything that makes up a KipBag was a nightmare. Wholesale companies had closed their doors, businesses weren’t answering phones, emails were left unanswered. Logistically, it was a nightmare.
“So I had to change the game, and think on my feet – in a similar way to when I was trying to get myself out of homelessness myself. I had to think smart – and act quickly. My biggest question was: “how do I get hold of all the items to make up 500 KipBags when half the country has shut up shop?“.
“Cue a tonne of phone calls, emails, shout-outs on social media.
“Eventually, it worked. We were beginning to get items delivered.”
Prior to lockdown the Leeds Hookers and Clickers group usually met in Kirkstall, but are now co-ordinating their efforts via Facebook due to lockdown.
The group is a national effort, with more than 400 members across the country. Hookers and Clickers connects like-minded people in an attempt to make the world a better place by knitting and crocheting for various charities.
One of the group’s founders, Joanne Brophy from Bramley, said:
“It’s been a privilege to play a small part in the work KipBag are doing. We will happily continue to support them.”
More details on the Hookers and Clickers (Do It For Charity) can be found on their Facebook page.
The Dispatch reported last month how the group raised more than £500 in just 48 hours towards buying protective gear for NHS workers.
The photo at the top of this page was taken before social distancing measures were in place.