Knit and Natter at Dundonald CastleLauren Welsh at Friends of Dundonald Castle tells us how a 'Keep on Creating' microgrant from Creative Lives helped the organisation's 'Knit 'n' Natter' group to stay warm during winter, giving members a much-needed weekly chance to meet and connect.

"We were delighted to be awarded a small grant from Creative Lives in 2022. This grant helped us to keep our weekly Knit 'n' Natter club running throughout the winter.

Our ‘Natter-ers’ meet every Monday afternoon and enjoy some great company with other local people within the community. Many of the women have anecdotally told us how vital the group is to their well-being and feeling of connectedness.

For many, it's the only time of the week when they get out to meet with others. This has a hugely beneficial impact on their mental health and feeling of belonging.

Their projects often enhance our visitor experience and education programme. They knit and create woollen chainmail helmets, sir coats, and other costume pieces for Knit and Natter at Dundonald Castleeveryone to enjoy during their visits to Dundonald Castle. These are especially popular during our education and group visits (carers, OIR, Scouts, adults with additional support needs, and many more).

The Visitor Centre is the village's community hub, where we provide a warm, safe space for our community and visitors. In winter 2022, the Knit 'n' Natter group commented on how lovely it was to have the heating on, it was so much warmer than being at home, especially as a result of the cost of living crisis.

The grant helped to cover some overhead costs, in particular heating costs, as this is a need identified by the group and is a real worry for most members. We were also able to use the money to provide a 'party' for them in the festive period which they all very much enjoyed."