Around the world in 80 scarves?

By Jack Gabriel

An Oadby and Wigston-based community group aiming to promote and educate healthy emotional well-being has started an initiative to knit scarves collectively long enough to go around the world.

Clare Lawrence-Simms, 51, a volunteer at the Oadby Free Spirit Foundation, helped launch the project, which particularly desires to help young people.

She said: “The project that we work on at Oadby Youth Centre is trying to help young people to learn skills as early as possible in their lives, that will help them to be able to deal with whatever life throws at them.

“We are living in a very challenging and ever-changing world, so to me, that is why this work is really important.”

Clare, who herself has suffered from anxiety and depression, started knitting an initial scarf earlier this year, but has since been inspired to create individual scarves that possess emotional well-being themes, such as joy, faith and fearlessness.

She added: “Our interim goal is to make the scarf long enough to wrap around King Power Stadium, our local and very inspirational football team.

“Our ultimate aim with this project has become to make it long enough to go around the entire world.”

Whilst Clare recognises it’s an ambitious feat, she has received admirable support from the community, as the scarves now accumulate to 12 metres in length.

She said: “It seems to have caught the imagination of the people in a way we never could have expected.


FEARLESS FASHION: Clare showcases one of the foundation’s self-knitted scarves which represents fearlessness

“It has shown me the amount of resilience, creativity, kindness, generosity, compassion and strength that we have in this community.

“Almost every time somebody tells me a story of their difficulty, it’s very moving, and the message is usually ‘I don’t want anybody else to go through what I went through.’”

The project is set to expand across Leicester, as the foundation prepares to reach communities in South Wigston and Eyres Monsell.

The Oadby Free Spirit Foundation welcomes any donations of ribbons, materials or funds to further the project, as well as any participants who want to get involved with the knitting of the scarves, whatever their history with emotional well-being battles.

Clare said: “The most inspirational people I’ve found, are the people who think they’re not at all inspirational.”

If you are interested in helping with the project, the Oadby Free Spirit Foundation can be found on Twitter at @Oadbyfsf, and on Facebook by searching ‘Oadby Free Spirit Foundation at Oadby Youth Centre’.

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