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Posted on in Business News, Brands & Products News, Creative News

The Stitchlinks knitting group at the Pain Clinic of the Royal United Hospital, Bath has been short listed for an award for their work with knitting and chronic pain.

The Epic Awards 2013 are an initiative of Voluntary Arts, the national development agency for arts participation. Voluntary Arts offers information, advice, training and development opportunities to those in the voluntary or amateur arts sector, from small local groups to large national organisations.

The Epic Awards are all about showcasing the very best in amateur art and craft activity across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

"People who are involved in the voluntary arts come to it with a great deal of passion, with no financial reward ... The result of all the enthusiasm and commitment people put into these groups is often really terrific work."
- Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries 

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About Stitchlinks

Stitchlinks was established in 2005 and exists to provide a support and information network for those who enjoy the therapeutic benefits of craft, particularly knitting.

Stitchlinks logoFollowing research done by former physiotherapist, Betsan Corkhill, it became evident that knitting could be developed into a therapeutic tool to manage a range of long-term medical conditions. As a result, the Pain Clinic at the Royal United Hospital in Bath agreed to Betsan setting up a weekly Therapeutic Knitting group for their patients, friends and discharged patients in 2006.

Recent research into the biology of pain has shown that those who are socially isolated and unoccupied will feel more pain than those who have a supportive social network or have their attention occupied. The aim with this social knitting group was to change people's experience of pain by focusing their attention in a social context.

Weekly attendance at Stitchlinks varies from about 10 through to around 20+ but there are up to 40 people who drop in when they wish to make contact. There are a few ex-nurses in the group who are happy to take more vulnerable members under their wings. There are also some expert knitters (some of whom initially had very low confidence) who are now happy to teach newcomers so the whole group is proactive in supporting each other.

When people first arrive at the group they are often fearful of coming to a group environment but the knitting activity provides them with a reason to attend and a point of conversation as well as a self-soothing tool to calm and manage anxiety and other emotions.

ActSmart are wholly committed to supporting Stitchlinks research and benefits to personal wellbeing and the creative industry. ActSmart makes a contribution from every creative business's membership towards Stitchlinks.



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