Giving Bucks care leavers a ‘quilted hug’

Over seventeen Buckinghamshire care leavers will be gifted with a ‘quilted hug’ as they continue to be supported by the leaving care team, thanks to the generous efforts of a local group of talented sewers.

The women, from the Tingewick Patchers sewing group, kindly made and donated the patchwork quilts as part of the Quilts For Care Leavers (Q4CL) programme, a national scheme that has a simple purpose – to provide a ‘quilted hug’ to care leavers aged between 16 and 25 who are living independently after their time in the local authority care system has come to an end.

Brenda Smith who runs the group explained: “The idea was started by one of our members, Gillian Thomas, seeing an article online about Q4CL. The movement started in the North of England and it has become a success. We talked about it in our meeting, and I wondered if there was a similar need in Bucks, so I rang the council to discuss the idea. We got the all-clear from the leaving care team and then we got busy doing the fun part of making up the quilts.”

Each of the single bed-sized quilts takes between one and three months to stitch together. The group of 40 stitchers meets weekly. They like to use their skills with a sewing machine to support others, as Brenda explained: “As a group we all indulge our love of colour and patterns to make patchwork items but at the same time as just enjoying ourselves, we are always sewing for or raising funds for one charity or another.”

Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, met with Brenda and her sewing group to accept the quilts on behalf of the council. She said: “I would like to thank Brenda and her friends for their time and efforts in creating these amazing works of art, they really are wonderful. You can clearly see the dedication and love that has gone into creating each one and that sentiment will be passed on to the care leavers who receive them. It will be something they can keep for many years to come and is a touching way of helping them to move on in their journeys into independence and into their adult lives.”

Buckinghamshire Council’s Leaving Care Service supports care experienced adults to navigate adult life. A personalised plan is devised with each young adult covering everything from health and wellbeing to education, careers, finding accommodation, building social relationships and managing finances. A dedicated Personal Advisor is available to provide help, advice and guidance to support each person to reach their individual goals.