2019 is ending as a disappointment. I worry about democracy in the UK, a country chosen by so many EU citizens, where they make their lives, pay their taxes and yet have no say, no vote. I worry about whether the NHS will be able to withstand the onslaught of a 'US deal' on drugs pricing. We have the fifth largest economy in the world and one third of our children grow up in poverty.
I could easily give in to despair. But who would that help? So instead I'm going to do what I can to help my local community and my knitting community. I can do these two things.
For the whole of 2020 I will give £1 for every full skein of yarn^ I sell, to the West Lothian School Bank.
The School Bank helps the most disadvantaged children by providing them with school uniforms, gym kit, shoes and wellies, warm jackets, underwear, backpacks and school essentials such as pencils and calculators. Last winter they gave out 75 warm winter coats, and remember, that's just in West Lothian. Having the same uniform helps underprivileged kids to blend in, to feel part of the school. It raises their self-esteem, improves confidence, reduces bullying, lets them concentrate on learning and takes a significant financial pressure off their parents.
The School Bank takes referrals from a wide range of professionals, including Social Workers, the Child Protection Agency, Head teachers and GPs. They receive only the information needed to select the best clothing for a child in need. They don't know who the child is, or why they've been referred. There is no judgement here. They just help the children.
I've chosen to help my community through West Lothian School Bank because, by dealing directly with child poverty, they act on the intersection of many areas of under-privilege. Children from homes where there is abuse and violence are disproportionately affected by poverty. Single parent families are disproportionately affected. Children of Black and Ethnic Minorities; children from homes suffering addiction or alcoholism; refugee children; children from homes where there are mental health issues or physical disability and illness; are all disproportionately affected by poverty.
All the effects of poverty are played out in what kids wear to school.
If you want to know more about the work of the West Lothian School Bank please look here School Bank.
^includes packs of miniskeins, excludes single miniskeins and 'sale' items
Years of austerity mean that we are all feeling the pinch in our wallets and our well-being. Many of us will use crafting as a way to deal with the pressures and stresses of daily life and therefore continue to spend on quality supplies. I know that many of you in the knitting and crocheting community will continue to buy yarn from me. I'm grateful.
I want to make it easier for you and therefore I'm taking £2 per skein off the price of all my merino and camel/silk yarn. This applies from today, for all of 2020, and backdated to the beginning of December (so if you bought yarn from me already this month, you'll get a bit back via PayPal).
To be clear, I'm not asking you to spend more money with DyeNinja. Just, if you would have bought from me anyhow - here's a wee something back. Enjoy!