Colchester Hospital Nurse, Sarah Sands wants to build a community of Blanketeers across the UK, to help patients nearing the end of their lives.
The Colchester Blanketeers charity was set up by Sarah Sands in November last year. With over 30 members recruited, the group, who knit blankets for end of life patients, meet every second Saturday at Colchester Hospital.
The charity aims to combat loneliness and social isolation; offering members a chance to come together and meet other people.
The blankets are offered to the patient’s relatives after their loved one has passed away and Sarah, a sister on the acute cardiac ward at the hospital, is keen to spread the word across the country.
“It would be great to see Blanketeers groups set up across the country,” said Sarah, whose group members have so far knitted around 60 blankets.
“I have been in touch with staff at King’s Lynn Hospital who are keen to start a group and it would be nice to expand into nearby Ipswich Hospital too.”
“The blankets give lots of comfort to people and can have quite a profound effect on both end of life patients and their relatives and loved ones.
“We try and make the patient’s room as homely as possible and the blankets help make them less sterile.”
Sarah added: “We encourage families to bring in their relative’s favourite toiletries and spray the blanket with an aftershave or perfume.
“That not only comforts the patient but also those left behind when they have gone, who can take them home and give them a cuddle.
“The other side of it is the social aspect and the group is aimed at ending loneliness and getting together people that may not get out much.
“Some members come to the group and they have never knitted before, while others bring in blankets every week.
Sarah, who doesn’t knit herself, added “It’s incredible how the Colchester Blanketeers has taken off.”
The Colchester Blanketeers meet at 11am every second Saturday in Training Room South at Colchester Hospital.