Burnley FC in the Community launched a special initiative this month that saw staff deliver 130 handmade hearts to both residents at a local care home and to patients in the care of the East Lancashire Hospital Trusts.
The hearts, made from colourful fabric and small enough to fit into the palm of a hand have been given to patients and residents receiving end of life care and who are currently separated from loved ones as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
All 130 hearts have been handmade by local woman Margaret McCallum, a sewing enthusiast, who was keen to help with the initiative when the idea was proposed by Burnley FC in the Community staff. A long-time participant of the charity’s Extra Time programme – which offers weekly social sessions for senior citizens – Margaret wanted to do her bit to support the most vulnerable in our community during these difficult times.
Margaret said: “I love to sew and recently, I’ve been making stuffed animals for my granddaughter. When this opportunity came up, I was more than happy to turn my hand to this.
“I’ve been trying to keep myself busy throughout lockdown – I think that’s why I managed to make so many hearts! I know the NHS staff have been in need so I’ve also made scrub bags for our local hospitals and little bags for district nurses to carry their masks and gloves around in. It just made sense to me to put my sewing skills to good use during these hard times.”
Denise Gee, Fundraising Manager for ELHT&ME, the official East Lancashire hospitals charity, explained that the hearts will go to Covid-19 patients, as well as to patients receiving end of life care for other illnesses.
Denise said: “The hearts are something very special because they go to our Spiritual Team who go across the hospitals here in East Lancashire, and if somebody’s at end of life, one heart is given to the patient, and the other is given to the family.
“Because of the COVID-19 situation, we can’t have visitors for loved ones, so it’s a very difficult time. We have the iPads where we try and keep connections going for as long as possible but the hearts are a journey that we all didn’t expect. Something so simple means so much to families and loved ones.”
Charlotte Griffiths, Healthy Lifestyles Manager at Burnley FC in the Community said: “We knew this would be great initiative to help our Extra Time participants keep busy and motivated during this strange time.
“Because we can’t see them as we usually would, we’ve got creative with other ways of keeping connected and we’re so pleased Margaret has enjoyed getting involved. She’s done a wonderful job and we hope each heart makes the person who receives it feel connected and loved.”
This is one of a number of initiatives Burnley FC in the Community has launched since social distancing rules came into place to help the community stay connected. You can find out more about this at www.burnleyfccommunity.org.
If you would like to create some of your own handmade hearts to donate to ELHT & Me, please post them to ELHT&ME, Park View Office, Royal Blackburn Hospital, Haslingden Road, Blackburn, BB2 3HH.