18th December 2020

Colleagues at award-winning law firm, Gardner Leader, have pulled together to create personalised knitted gifts for residents experiencing dementia in local Berkshire care homes this Christmas. 

Lawyers Jade Taylor, Sarah Sharpin and four other members of staff came up with the charitable initiative through Gardner Leader’s staff wellbeing group ‘Evolve’. Created and led by members of the firm to discuss internal areas that Gardner Leader could improve upon, the group supports the mental health of employees through a range of programmes. 

Jade Taylor, who led the knitting project, found inspiration from her involvement with the Thatcham Dementia Forum that helps organisations in becoming dementia friendly. The idea came to mind after Sue Butterworth, from West Berkshire Council, contacted Jade for ideas on how to keep isolated care home residents connected to the community during lockdown. The team of six knitters then began creating gifts aimed at those living with dementia in care homes, including; bed or slipper socks, scented Christmas decorations and personalised handkerchiefs. The group also knitted especially made fidget blankets to provide the necessary sensory stimulation for those with dementia to focus on and enjoy.  

Speaking of the fantastic initiative, Victoria Rowland of Age UK Berkshire & Dementia Friendly West Berkshire said: 

“Gardner Leader has worked hand in hand with Dementia Friendly West Berkshire and a number of care homes in the area to provide much needed Christmas gifts for residents.  

“Skills from the Gardner Leader team have been used to create some beautiful gifts. This partnership is a perfect example of how businesses can think outside the box to make a real difference to lonely residents in their local area.” 

The knitters are creating gifts for over 44 residents across two care homes, and hope the demand continues to grow over the festive period so they can keep creating and donating. 

Each handcrafted item will have a note attached to it from the person who made it, and the team will also be donating any extra items as part of some care packages that are being produced by one of the care homes for local vulnerable people living alone.