Nightingale Country Crafts (NCC) was the brainchild of former FNHC CEO Pat Dodge. Pat realised that the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity Market Stall was receiving lots of high quality handmade goods to sell, so much so that there was an opportunity to establish a group of people who would be happy to make items for FNHC to sell at events, or, eventually, through the Charity’s Shops.
NCC was set up in 2008, and was managed by Chris Hall, with the help of Jeanette MacKenzie. They made baby clothes, toys, blankets, tea cosies which were then sold at events such as the Bucks County Show where FNHC had a stall.
After about three years, Chris was ready to retire, and Jan Adams took over, co-ordinating the distribution of wool and the collection of goods from members. They also have regular meetings, which are both social occasions and a chance to swap creative ideas and admire each other’s handiwork.
In 2012, NCC products were tried out in the Wendover Shop where they sold well. Thame and Haddenham Shops now also carry NCC stock and nearly nine years later, the NCC group has 32 ladies who regularly make goods for sale, and another six or so Associate Members who live outside the area but who have connections through relatives or friends, and who send items intermittently. Since 2008, NCC sales have contributed over £16,000 to the Charity.
“Sometimes we only make £140 or so at an event,” says Jan. “But Jane Naismith at the Hospice told me that they had a lady who was in terrible pain from lying on her side, but she couldn’t lie any other way. They bought her a gel pad for only £20, but it took away her pain, and gave her comfort for the rest of her time. With the ladies doing the knitting and contributing, you’re buying somebody comfort. It all adds up to something useful and that is great.”
Making something for NCC is tremendously satisfying, Jan says. “We’ve turned our hobby into fundraising. We enjoy doing it. Lots of the ladies say, “I’ve got to be doing something when I’m sitting in front of the telly.” We like knitting and sewing and we thought, “Why not put it to some good use?” Ron and I have always supported the Hospice ever since my dad was in there about eighteen years ago. When I heard about NCC I thought, “Yeah!” I like knitting and sewing and you can’t often do a job that you really enjoy and know that it’s going to a good cause.
“And to get the feedback from Brigitte and Rachel [FNHC Shop Managers] and from people who buy the stuff, and the really nice, kind words they have for the Hospice…It’s inspirational – you get a real buzz from it. Some of us are elderly and a bit infirm and to know that you are doing something useful with your hobby, and see your stuff being sold feels great.”
Do you love knitting or sewing?
Would you like to turn your hobby into funding for Florence Nightingale Hospice? If so, please get in touch with Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity on 01296 429 975, give us your phone number or email address and we will arrange for the NCC Co-ordinator, Jan Adams, to get in touch with you.