Knitting for those in need

Knit for the Homeless organiser Laurin Lang talks about the initiative, as well as the past few weeks, with member Maralyn Barnet. Video: Christopher Tan.

A group of exceptional 65 to 85 year old Perth ladies is super excited about the return of their weekly knitting club ‘Knit for the Homeless’ on June 16.

Temporarily, the group will be operating at a maximum capacity of 10 members, as well as distancing measures of one person per table outside Big W at Kingsway City in Perth’s north.

Centre Manager Albert Sertorio says proposals to re-install the seats at the food court are still subject to government regulations.

“Businesses at Kingsway are eager to welcome back [their] customers, we hope there are changes soon,” Mr Sertorio says.

“We are [however] very keen to continue our support of this wonderful community initiative.”

Laurin and the knitting ladies last year vs. this year. Photo: Christopher Tan.

Before the pandemic, the group would gather at the Kingsway City Shopping Centre food court to knit donated wool from the community.

Laurin Lang drops off the finished items to local churches who distribute them to the homeless, to struggling mothers as well as kids in wheelchairs.

In March this year, the group as well as a number of new members, have bought their own material and knitted from home. 

According to Laurin, one person donated 96 balls of brand new wool and one lady knitted 25 beanies out of leftover wool.

Despite isolation, the knitting group has received continuous support from the community. Video: Christopher Tan.
Helen O’Neill recently learnt of Laurin’s group and began knitting from home. She is excited to meet the group once restrictions ease. Video: Christopher Tan.

According to the latest census from 2016, there are more than 116,000 people experiencing homelessness nationally, with 9,000 coming from WA.

WA is one of three states where the homelessness rate is decreasing (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Photo: Christopher Tan.

As Tropical Cyclone Mangga made way for the beginning of winter last week, Laurin is grateful of the contributions from the local community in times of great need. 

“The community response has been tremendous and they have done so much for us,” she says. 

“We’ve all had [received] help somewhere along the line ourselves and we know what it is like.”

Laurin and Maralyn holding up knitted garments. Photo: Christopher Tan.

Group member Maralyn Barnet, who has been part of the club since day one, says she feels humbled to be able to contribute to those in need. 

“It makes me feel good, to think that someone doesn’t have to be cold, especially young families without the security of a roof over their heads,” Mrs Barnet says.

“That little bit of knitting, is doing a lot.”

The ladies knitting together last year. Photo: Christopher Tan.

Within its first 12 months, ‘Knit for the Homeless’ had given away more than 2,000 knitted garments to the community.

Since isolation, there has been an increase in the number of ladies reaching out to Laurin interested in picking up the skill of knitting.

One of them is a 14-year-old teenager hoping to be mentored.

Anyone who is interested in returning or joining this group on June 16 must contact Laurin beforehand on 0412 204 055.