News Article


RUDDIYS' Knit-a-thon 2019

Reading University Domestic Do It Yourself Society hand-crafted over two hundred hats for Berkshire’s premature babies and vulnerable people.

Reading University Domestic Do It Yourself Society’s (RUDDIYS) annual Knit-a-thon has once again provided vital help to those in need. The twelve-hour knitting session, hosted by RUSU in February 2019, was led by Georgina Pepper, President and Nicole Wooten, Secretary. This year RUDDIYS aimed to raise awareness for premature babies and vulnerable people, with the hats created going to Basingstoke Hospital and Launchpad Reading (a local charity for vulnerable and disadvantaged people).

Each year the Society aims to help, in their own small way, with the financial strain faced by the National Health Service (NHS). Parents of premature babies are given a ‘Baby Pack’ to take home, which includes a hat. These traditionally knitted or crocheted hats help to keep them from losing too much warmth, which can be fatal. The Society has received mixed reactions when discussing the duration of their Knit-a-thon; Georgina responds to those in shock with “twelve hours is not uncommon for an NHS nurse shift”.

I was a month early and I had to wear dolls hats. Not all premature babies survive, but these Baby Packs give them a fighting chance.

During Knit-a-thon 2017/18, RUDDIYS crafted over four hundred hats which were available to those in need days before Storm Emma (the cause of ninety-five fatalities) hit Berkshire. In working with Launchpad, the RUDDIYS Committee developed a greater understanding of the stigma surrounding homelessness and came to the agreement that their hats would be placed in a public waiting area, so those who needed them could take one without facing any questions.

To prepare for Knit-a-thon 2018/19 RUDDIYS held a ‘Learn to Knit and Crochet’ session, which taught complete beginners the skills needed. In the spirit of inclusion, Nicole and Georgina were quick to offer teaching to anyone, member or not, who walked in and wanted to participate. In total, they hand-crafted an incredible two hundred and thirty-eight hats.

The event went really well, we had a big turnout of people coming to help and donate for these amazing causes.

When RUDDIYS visited Launchpad to deliver over one hundred hats, they discovered strong ties to the Students’ Union; the three founders were students at the University of Reading forty years ago! The RUDDIYS Committee had been told how donations can be made all year round, not just during winter and so the Society chose a time when donations are lower.

This week Launchpad received over 100 brilliant hats from Reading University Domestic Do It Yourself Society’s (RUDDIYS) and we are so grateful to the talented students who spent hours crafting them. They are in our waiting rooms for clients to take away with them and they’ve been extremely popular already - with one client commenting that local students making hats for people in need ‘restored his faith in humanity’.