11:24 am February 1, 2022
Bringing students together to make new friendships and learn a new skill is the goal of a Chantry Academy math teacher, who has started a new crochet club at school.
The You’re Knot Alone after-school club was set up a few weeks ago to help with student well-being and encourage youngsters to talk to each other – around painstaking crafts.
Lois Mansfield, who has been teaching at Chantry School for two years, said: “With the way everything has gone with the pandemic, we know pupils are struggling with their mental wellbeing.
“We knew it was important before, but it’s taken an even bigger hit in recent years and I wanted to do something to help.
“I experienced a loss due to mental health issues and it made me wonder what I could do to give students a safe space and a sense of community amidst all the confusion.”
Miss Mansfield had started crocheting during lockdown – ‘I wanted to learn a new skill and put my phone down more’ – and decided to start a school club which encourages craftiness among young people.
Items made at the You’re Knot Alone club are then put up for sale to raise money for the Somersham Ward Support Group to help out a local charity.
She added: “In the three weeks since the club was founded, we’ve raised £80 which is a great start.
“We have around 40 participants on average, a very good turnout of enthusiastic and interested students, and new faces are coming in every week.
“I think we’ll have a good core of pickers.”
The main goal is to bring students together to make new friendships and talk to new people, as well as learn a skill that has been shown to benefit well-being.
But fundraising with crochet stress balls and other knitted items is also a big deal, and Miss Mansfield is keen to involve the community beyond the school if she can.
“If there are any crocheters, knitters, embroiderers, artisans who want to contribute to the shop, it would be amazing, if something could be sent to the school, sent in my name, for our small sale .”