Empowerment’s BESS service is specifically aimed at bringing people together to help tackle social isolation and loneliness in Blackpool. BESS – standing for Blackpool Empowering Social Support, has been engaging with many local residents during the pandemic with BESS Buddies a befriending phone service and online social activities including weekly coffee morning, quiz group and the Wednesday Crafternoon club.
The Crafternoon club have so far supported the Blackpool Teaching Hospital appeal for rainbow squares, ThePolice and Fire Brigade call to action for winter warmer packs (blankets sent out over Christmas to thosevulnerable people in our community) as well as a collaborative project yarnbombing a bicycle to welcome people at the Empowerment Base.
With a new year on the horizon and another lock down looming, the group have decided to take on a year long project to bring together other ‘solitary knitters’ across the country and “Stay at Home. Knit to laugh. Love Blackpool!”. This will see knitters, crochet fans and anyone else with a passion for craft using material, to come together via the weekly crafternoon zoom group and create squares with various comedy designs to celebrate – and hopefully cover! – the world famous Blackpool Comedy Carpet which turns 10 this year.
Service co-ordinator Linzi Cason says:
“This group is really the highlight of my working week. The ideas and creativity are always so brilliant and when I mentioned we should do a year long project the ideas soon started to fly about!
We are an inclusive group who welcome anyone wanting to share their crafts with the group, have a brew and a chat. More importantly, it is about the connection we all have and one of our ladies even joins in from London each week after seeing our piece early last year on That’s Lancashire TV.
With this project we hope to encourage other groups, solo crafters from Blackpool and beyond to get involved. We have 2,500 square feet to fill so we need lots of help!”
Once the squares start to form blankets we will distribute these and hang about the town in windows where people can see them while out on daily exercise. This will form a ‘Comedy Carpet Trail’ and brighten the day of those who see it. At the end of the project in December 2021 we will gift these blankets to people who need them over the winter months.
If you would like to get involved please contact Linzi on: [email protected] There is a budget for wool so we can post out one ball to use for your design but we do ask if you can then post it back to us at BESS Craft Group 333 Bispham Rd Blackpool FY20HH.
The Crafternoon group is held each Wednesday 2pm – 3pm and even if you do not want to take part in this project we are still encouraging crafters from around the UK to come along and say hello.
To take part we are looking for:
1. Knitted or crochet squares 6inch or 12inch. Ideally we would like these putting into a blanket we are
encouraging a few people to come together virtually to make one and post it as one blanked.
For the 12 inch squares you will need 15 individual squares to make one blanket.
For the 6 inch squares you will need 30 individual squared to make one blankets.
2. The squares are to reflect a fun theme inspired from sayings on the Comedy Carpet. For example the
saying “Bring me Sunshine” might be reflected in a yellow square or a sunshine circle. The list should
also be attached to this information.
3. Please also include a little note to which sayings you have created or just a note to say hello!