Quilts for Care Leavers Project

written by Janet Whitewright

This project has a simple purpose, that of providing a “quilted hug” to a care leaver aged 16 to 25 who is living independently after their time in local authority care has come to an end.

We all like to think that we’ll be with family and friends at Christmas. Some of us through no fault of our own are not so lucky. In 2013 poet Lemn Sissay MBE, funded The Christmas Dinner specifically to be held for young people leaving the care system who would otherwise be alone. Q4CL was set up in 2018 and offered quilt hugs to guests at the dinners under the auspices of the now”Gold for the Stone Foundation”. Their special size is so that they provide the hug that Lemn said he missed when he moved into care aged 12. As the numbers of makers and quilts grows, the ability to gift to care leavers at events other than Christmas dinners increases.

Q4CL’s guidelines

Quilts must be of good condition although recycled fabric can be used.

There are more male recipients so unisex colours are ideal but definite “male” and “female” colours are welcome.

Width must be between 40 and 50 inches and the length between 66 and 72 inches. There must be a difference of 20 inches between width and length.

The ideal size is 44 by 70 inches.

Quilting can be simple and done at home but a small donation will pay for a long arm service.

For more information https://q4cl.org.uk/quilt-guidelines/

Beartown’s involvement with Q4CL

At the beginning of 2020 the committee was looking for a group project which would provide quilts for a charity. Previously we had supported Project Linus and the Salvation Army amongst other, but wanted something different this time. When Ruth told us about Q4CL we were immediately interested and decided this was for us.

Initially we asked our members for their orphan blocks and these arrived in quantity along with donations of fabrics and wadding. These first blocks were of all colours, shapes and sizes, though most were suitable to be adapted for use.

March 2020 happened and we realised life was going to be rather different for a while. We decided to have an ongoing drive for blocks with a definite size – 12 1/2 inches square along with a different colour each month. Blocks came in to me and I put them into packs, with Q4CL instructions and with enough fabric for sashing, backing, binding, an wadding. Hey presto – I was later presented with a finished quilt!

Thirteen quilts were made this way. One lady made five quilts entirely from her own stash! Up to date, 43 quilts have been donated to Q4CL – well done Beartown P&Q! Here are some of the wonderful hugs.

Block of the month

This is a nice way to contribute if you feel you can’t make a whole quilt. But first you need to join Q4CL then the block drive group which is only open to members of the former! June 2023’s block is a double hour glass. There’s a picture on Beartown’s facebook page (June 10th). Details of how to put it together can be found at https://createwhimsy.com/projects/how-to-make-the-double-hourglass-quilt-pattern-2/


There is also a group affiliated to Q4CL that make MORSBAGS in which quilts are packed to be taken away by the recipient. Morsbags are made with recycled, reusable, strong washable fabric and are give free to reduce the use of plastic bags. https://morsbags.com/