School crochet club forms 'sense of community amid all the confusion'

A green crochet dinosaur next to the You're Knot Alone donation box

The students are learning to crochet in a group of new friends - and have raised £80 so far for Somersham Ward Support Group - Credit: Lois Mansfield

Bringing students together to form new friendships and learn a new skill is the aim for a Chantry Academy maths teacher, who's started a new crochet club at the school. 

The You're Knot Alone after-school club was set up a few weeks ago to help with student wellbeing and encouraging youngsters to talk to one another - over some careful craft work. 

Lois Mansfield, who has been teaching at the Chantry school for two years, said: "With how everything has been with the pandemic, we know that students are struggling with their mental wellbeing. 

"We knew it was important before but it's taken an even bigger hit these past few years and I wanted to do something to help. 

"I have experience of loss due to mental health difficulties and that prompted me to ask myself what I could do to give students a safe space and sense of community amid all the confusion."

Crochet stress ball, bee toys and keyrings for sale at Chantry Academy

Crochet goods are being sold at the school to raise money for the hospital - Credit: Lois Mansfield

Miss Mansfield had begun crocheting during lockdown - "I wanted to learn a new skill and put down my phone more" - and decided to start a school club that encourages the craftiness in youngsters. 

The items made at the You're Knot Alone club then go on sale to raise money for the Somersham Ward Support Group to give a local charity a boost. 

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She added: "In the three weeks since starting the club we've raised £80, which is a good start. 

"We get around 40 attendees on average, a really good uptake of keen and interested students, and new faces are coming every week. 

"I think we'll get a good core of crocheters." 

The main aim is to bring students together to form new friendships and talk to new people, as well as to learn a skill that is proven to be beneficial to wellbeing. 

But raising money with crochet stress balls and other knitted goods is an important part too, and Miss Mansfield is keen to get the community beyond the school involved if she can. 

"If there are any crocheters, knitters, embroiderers, crafters out there who fancy contributing to the shop, that would be amazing, if anything could be sent to the school, sent to my name, for our little sale."