A KNITTING project has raised more than £2,000 for a mental health charity in Norton.

The Buddy Bear Appeal, launched by the Thornton le Dale Crafty Hubbers in October, has donated a cheque to Next Steps for two hearing loops and a community fridge.

The Buddy Bear Appeal is similar to a chain letter, with the idea of knitting three bears to pass onto a friend, family member, neighbour or someone who is struggling.

“The Buddy Bear Appeal has been doing very well,” said Denise Rajab, a member of the Thornton le Dale Village Hub.

“So far, the Crafty Hubbers, which is part of the Thornton le Dale Village Hub, has knitted more than 400 bears and the community has been brilliant in supporting our mental health project.

“We are still knitting away during lockdown, but once again, sales are on hold until further notice.

“There are three shops selling our bears, including Balderson’s Welcome Café, Clothes for Comfort and Hip and Square.

“We now have enough funds for our first buddy bench, which I’m hoping that our Parish Council will allow us to place in the centre of the village.”

It is hoped the buddy bench would facilitate the creation of new friendships, combat loneliness and encourage sensitivity towards the feelings of other people in the community.

“Buddy benches do work,” added Denise.

“When I returned to Kuwait after the Iraq invasion in 1991, buddy benches were placed in the school that I was working at.

“The students used them a lot to talk about their experiences and how they were feeling. They talked about loved ones that had been taken away and never seen again.

“It was a problem shared and a fantastic lifeline for students who were clearly suffering from their own mental health.

“We are hoping to be able to purchase two more in the near future.”

For more information, visit thorntonledalevillagehub.org or email tldvillagehub@gmail.com