The Recovery College on Angelsea Road, Woolwich, South East London, has had students rising to an unusual challenge in their knitting class.

The Recovery College provides a full prospectus of courses and workshops for people who are currently or have previously lived with mental illness. The range of subjects include practical skills for independent living through to vocational skills to help the learner’s move towards the workplace, all delivered with attention to the wellness and wellbeing that comes through learning achievement.

Many courses at the college are co-designed and co-delivered by peer trainers; students who have come through the college and are trained in delivering courses. Bebé Allen is the peer trainer who leads the knitting group.

Bebé came up with a great idea: Knit as many baby hats as possible to be donated to new mothers at a local maternity unit. Students rose to the challenge and before long they had knitted over fifty-five beautiful baby hats.

Bebé said: “Once we decided on the challenge, there was a real sense of purpose in the group. It was great to see students who had come to the class not knowing how to knit, learn and improve and go on to knit baby hats. They had achieved something amazing.

“Knowing that there was such a need for the hats at the new baby unit spurred us on. The hats will be used a lot by the unit, as going home gifts for new mothers.”

Recently, Bebé arranged a small presentation group to visit the local maternity unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, where they donated the hats. Staff were delighted with the gift and Maternity Matron Jacqui Kempen, said: “The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Maternity Unit is thrilled to have been given these wonderful hats for the babies that are born here. Each hat has been beautifully made and we would like to thank the Recovery College and all the brilliant knitters for their generosity.”

Students have been excited by their achievement, and are planning in their next classes to knit mittens and matinee jackets for the same maternity unit.

For more information, to download a prospectus and enrol, please visit:

Submitted by Polly Morgan