Beanies knitted by prisoners keep newborns warm

WARM AND COSY: Cristy Aliwate is grateful to be gifted a beanie for baby Ariana, knitted by Christchurch Women's Prison inmates.

Inmates are doing their bit to keep newborn babies cosy this month.

About 100 baby beanies crocheted by prisoners have been donated to newborns at Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

And yesterday, Christchurch mother Cristy Aliwate was gifted one of the beanies for her newborn baby Ariana, as part of Christchurch Women’s Prison’s knit project.

The project is growing in popularity and currently involves nine novice and experienced knitters.

Prison residential manager Tracy Tyro said it is a constructive activity for inmates.

“They appreciate being able to do something positive with their spare time. It can be a very therapeutic activity. The knitting group can be a good quiet space for the women,” she said

“This is a project that really appeals to the women, many of whom have children and grandchildren of their own. They appreciate the difference a hat can make to keeping little ones warm. It offers the women an opportunity to create something pretty and practical for some of our community’s most vulnerable.”

She said in addition to helping someone in the community, the women have learnt other skills.

“They learn to work and be in a group, to take instruction and share their knowledge, they can be creative and express themselves in new ways. All of these skills will be useful for when they are released.”

The project has been running for eight months and is supported by prison staff and chaplaincy, and the Hope Church.

Poppy, who is part of the prison group, is a very keen knitter.

Over the past few months, she has knitted 83 of the hats.

“I enjoy knitting and through my knitting, I can do something useful and give something back to society while I am incarcerated,” she said.

“I am approached by other prisoners and teach them to knit from basics to cables. I think it is good for the younger women, keeping them busy.”

•If anyone has wool they would like to donate please contact Jen Hardy, acting regional volunteer co-ordinator at Christchurch Women’s Prison, on 345 6400.