Published: 01 June 2020

Crochet creations bring comfort to care workers

Anna Ware, Large Animal Technician at the Vet School,  has been creating crochet facemask extenders, bringing comfort to care workers

Anna Ware

Since the coronavirus lockdown began, almost a quarter of the UK's workforce has been furloughed, representing more than six million workers. Time out of the workplace has given many people an opportunity to learn new skills or volunteer to help others.

Anna Ware has been using her time at home to support front line healthcare workers. Inspired by the story of fellow Community Champion, Katy Beaumont, who has been making scrubs for the NHS, Anna turned to the internet for ideas. Her research identified a need for facemask extenders thanks to the Facebook group, Crochet Mask Adapters UK. She explains:

“Healthcare staff who have to wear facemasks for their own protection have been left with very sore ears at the end of their shift. Facemask extenders can alleviate this chafing. A number of Facebook groups were sharing crocheting patterns for simple extenders as well as tips and advice.”

Since picking up her first crochet hook, novice Anna has whipped up 80 facemask extenders for local healthcare providers including Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital and a care home for the elderly.

She has appreciated the sense of community spirit during the pandemic, saying: “I have been supported by a nationwide Facebook community but I have also been helped at a local level too. When I couldn’t get hold of buttons, I used social media to appeal for help and a local lady donated some. Another lady who is doing the same thing as me also got in touch and now we share information.”

Anna has found that her new hobby is keeping her busy during the quietness of lockdown. She reflects: “I’m usually on my feet all day and a lot of my time is spent outdoors with horses, cattle and sheep. I really don’t like sitting still and I miss the animals, especially the horses. Making extenders has given me something purposeful to do and I like to think I’m using my practical skills to help others.”

So how many extenders does Anna intend to make? “Some of the seasoned crocheters in the Facebook group have made several hundred each so suddenly 80 doesn’t feel like that many! It’s taken me a while to get up to speed but I’ll make them for as long as they are needed.”

For what our opinion is worth, that’s 160 happier ears than before Anna swapped horses for crochet hooks, so today we say a huge and heartfelt “thank you” to Anna as she joins Surrey’s Community Champions.

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