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Easter chicks spread their wings

Our Easter knitted chick appeal has gained new supporters from exotic climes, after a knitting group in East Africa gave it a helping hand.

Soft Power Education is a charity working in Bujagali, close to the River Nile in rural Eastern Uganda. The idea to involve the knitting group came from a Trustee, Margaret McAlpine, who spends three months a year volunteering in Uganda. Part of her work there involves running the women’s knitting group.

The group provides a sustainable way for women in the community to generate income. Members are paid a generous fair trade price for the goods they knit.

For many of the women, the money they earn boosts a meagre family income. Knitting chicks means they can use up spare small lengths of yarn and fill in gaps between orders.

An anonymous UK benefactor is paying the group for each chick knitted, so both Francis House and the women in the group benefit from the project.

The women knit from beneath the shade of a mango tree, and the first brood of 550 chicks recently arrived at Francis House in Didsbury after a flight of over 4000 miles.

In March 2018, all of these knitted chicks – along with tens of thousands of others – will be filled with a Cadbury’s Creme Egg before flying the nest to local schools and businesses, where they will be sold for £1 each.

The members of the knitting group enjoy the chance to sit down in the afternoon shade. They use 3D plastic eggs to ensure that each of the chicks fit the precise dimensions of a Cadbury’s Crème Egg.

“At first, progress was quite slow as members of the group – only one of whom can read English – came to terms with the pattern, but now production has taken off and more and more chicks arrive by the hour,” said Margaret.

Rachel Astill, fundraising officer at Francis House, said: “The money raised helps to make a real difference to the lives of families who use Francis House. It is even better that the campaign is now helping families in need overseas too.”

For more information on the many ways that you can join in visit Francis House Easter knitted chick appeal