A County Durham community group are celebrating three generations of community work helping local and national charities with handicraft projects and weekly meetings.

Stanley based knitting group Helping Hands have gone above and beyond to help local and national charities by utilising their skills in knitting, sewing and crocheting.

Group leader Deanne Bowden is also proud that her family are celebrating three generations of community work.

The Northern Echo: The group meet up every Tuesday and Friday between 10:30 and 12:30 at Stanley indoor bowls centre

The group meet up every Tuesday and Friday between 10:30 and 12:30 at Stanley Indoor Bowls Centre for a Knit and Natter, allowing the members to catch up and discuss their current projects.

Projects the group are currently working on are knitted headbands for people in the hospital who have received chemotherapy treatment, knitted nests for rescue birds at Blyth Animal Rescue as well as blankets and jumpers to go to the homeless and Dementia Care.

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When we visited the group, they were making easter chicks for children in accident and emergency centres.

This understated group is doing wonders for hospitals and charitable organisations all over the country. Last year they celebrated sending their knitted projects overseas, which were toys for children Ukraine.

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Deanne said: “We try to help as many people as we can, and the work is non-stop.”

The group work closely with hospitals so they can prioritise making items they want that are suitable for hospital use. This is important as some types of wool aren’t suitable for all projects, sparkly wool can’t be used on items for babies in intensive care as they can contain traces of metal that will interfere with hospital technology.

The helping hands group operates a sophisticated procedure, and it is a success. The triumphs of the group prove this humble Knit and Natter group shouldn’t be underestimated.

The benefits of the Knit and Natter also extend to those attending the weekly meet ups.

The Northern Echo: This understated group is doing wonders for hospitals and charitable organisations all over the

Deanne said: “My husband has dementia, so twice a week this group gives me a chance to get out of the house and meet people. It really helps my mental health to come here, I can step out of my caring role for a few hours.

“Quite a few of the women are widows, and many live on their own so this is the only chance some of the group have to socialise and meet other people.”

The group presents an incredibly warm atmosphere with plenty of jokes and laughs amongst the intricate knitting, sewing, and crocheting.

The group was set up in memory of Deanne’s grandmother, who helped friends of Darlington memorial hospital for many years when Deanne's mother was training as a nurse.

“We have carried on as a family in memory of gran since she passed, there are three generations of my family that contribute to the group and we do it in memory of her, this is 50 years of work as a family.

“My granddaughter is the third generation, she’s only seven and she contributes by making hats on the machines.”

Deanne also stresses that members don’t have to be skilled in knitting, the group have some handy machines that allow members to make hats and headbands without laboured knitting.

“People don’t have to come and knit, they can come and sew, crochet or even just come along for the conversation, or bring their own projects along, everybody is welcome."

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Margaret Ballantyne received hospital treatment in December after undergoing surgery and said that the support of the group has benefitted her mental wellbeing during recovery.

“It’s been lovely to know people are still thinking about you, especially when you live on your own. I lost my husband five years ago so it's nice to be with other ladies and be part of such a great group.

“The work Deanne does is amazing, she’s the one that reaches out to the charities and asks them what they need, she organises the different projects we do, and we do so many, it's amazing to be a part of it.”

Helping Hands hopes to welcome some more male members into the group as well as any wool and stuffing donations, as they are desperately in need.

The group also require monetary donations to pay for postage of their items. They will be fundraising through tabletop sales at the Stanley Indoor Bowls Centre on Saturday, March 2.

To join visit the groups Facebook page here.