In eight years, the Belmont Knitting Circle has raised over £10,000 for charities in the UK, Eastern Europe and Israel, while providing a friendly forum for people from local shuls and the Stanmore Baptist Church.
Working together, members create blankets, hats and teddy bears, each with its own BKC label.
The knitting circle originated from World Jewish Relief’s Pomegranate committee, whose members formed PomKnits, making colourful blankets which were sent by WJR to clients in Eastern Europe.
PomKnit regulars and knitters from local shuls (Belmont, Bushey and Stanmore) as well as the Stanmore Baptist Church, established the Knitting Circle, which convenes on the first Monday of the month at the home of Belmont shul member Jacqui Segal.
Her home is crammed with baskets of wool, blankets, hats, teddy bears and knitted squares. The latter are sent to volunteers who crochet them into richly-coloured blankets. Ms Segal then vacuum-packs quantities of knitted products and delivers them to Israeli charities.
BKC also works with Akim in Haifa, helping those with mental and physical disabilities. It recently branched out to provide the neonatal unit at St Thomas’s Hospital with “bonding squares”, used with premature and sick babies who cannot be breast fed.
As word of the BKC spread, the group met Rabbi Eitan Kupietzky from Israeli charity the Gimmel Foundation, which supports disadvantaged and “at risk” young people.. BKC produced knitted items for the foundation and in turn, Rabbi Kupietzky was a guest speaker at a BKC event which raised £1,500 for WJR and St Luke’s Hospice.
Another beneficiary of its knitted goods is Kishorit, a home for adults with special needs in Western Galilee. Hearing that one of the residents was a Gunners fan, Betty Arnold created an Arsenal blanket for him. BKC stresses that it would be equally happy to design a blanket for a Spurs supporter.