Over 500 items of clothing, blankets, hats, gloves and children’s toys have been hand-knitted by young offenders and female prisoners at Hydebank Wood College to be distributed to the less fortunate at Christmas.
Since early autumn prisoners have been tirelessly knitting the items for Bangor Salvation Army to be given out at their annual carol service.
Hydebank Governor Richard Taylor said: "This is another great example of how Hydebank is giving back to our community. It has been a tremendous effort by those in our care and indeed our prison staff.
"The knitting project was undertaken in partnership with churches in North Down as well as our partner agencies, and a fabulous collection of blankets, hats, snoods and children’s toys created. We are very grateful to our lead Chaplain Fr Stephen McBrearty and the parishes of Holywood, Bangor and Newtownards for all their work in collecting and donating the wool.
"It’s been a fantastic effort. It has allowed those in our care to give something back to their communities whilst supporting one another. They’ve also benefitted by learning new skills which are both practical and encourage good mental health."
Governor Taylor added: "I’m delighted to say that this project will continue, and we will be producing more hand-knitted teddy bears, blankets as well as children’s hats, scarves and knitted cardigans for the Friends Across Borders initiative."
Linda Cunliffe, from Bangor Salvation Army, said: "For the Salvation Army, part of celebrating Christmas means doing what we can to bring comfort and joy to people who are struggling.
“The efforts of the young men, women and girls at Hydebank has just been incredible and will mean so much to those who will reach out to us for help at this time."
Prison Chaplain at Hydebank Fr Stephen McBrearty thanked those who had donated wool for the project, “A call went out through the Diocese of Down and Connor from the Chaplains in Hydebank for wool to the Inner City parishes and Holywood, Bangor and Newtownards parishes. The response was overwhelming and I want to thank everyone for their generosity.”
Notes to editors:
- Photo captions: PHOTO 1 - Over 500 items of hand-knitted clothing, blankets, hats, gloves and children’s toys made by young offenders and female prisoners at Hydebank Wood College to be distributed to the less fortunate during the festive season.
PHOTO 2: Salvation Army Major Scott Cunliffe and his wife Linda were delighted to accept over 500 items of hand-knitted clothing, blankets, hats, gloves and children’s toys made by young offenders and female prisoners at Hydebank Wood College to be distributed to less fortunate by the Salvation Army this Christmas.
2. Hydebank Wood College, which has a focus on education, learning and employment, accommodates young people between the ages of 18 and 21. It also accommodates female remand and sentenced prisoners within the complex.
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