Scarves for Social Change is a community movement that has focused on spreading warmth and helping those in need since its launch in June last year. In partnership with Youth Projects, the creator and main knitter, Jaymie Moynihan, has her hands full having just hit 100 hand-knitted items.
During their first nine months, Jaymie and her band of knitters managed to complete a quarter of those garments; the rest have followed since the COVID-19 lockdown when isolation became the norm. The extra spare time meant more custom creations, but Jaymie thinks the increase in demand could also be because there’s been more eyes on screens, meaning more people saw the group’s Instagram page and website, leading to an increase in support.
“The Toorak College Collegians awarded me a $500 grant back in June 2019,” Jaymie said. “This really kickstarted the whole Scarves for Social Change movement.”
It’s an incredible initiative that started purely by accident. Jaymie was at a party wearing a scarf she’d knitted herself when she was complimented on it and asked where she’d bought it. That got her thinking.
“My friend wanted me to knit her a scarf but I didn’t feel that I could charge her. Instead, I suggested she make a donation to a charity in place of payment. My initial plan was to have a mix of charities to support, but early on a friend suggested Youth Projects. They’re a Melbourne-based organisation who work with homeless and disadvantaged youth and received 100 per cent of our donations. I’ve stuck with them throughout the project and it’s become a partnership. We’ve raised $6000 for them now.”
The 22-year-old was taught how to sew and knit by her grandmothers Nanette Moynihan and Cheryl Emerton. These skilled knitters can not only take credit for sharing their knowledge with Jaymie as a child, but also for their knitting contributions to Scarves for Social Change to support Jaymie’s mission.
“My grandmothers saw the big workload and joined in. A few friends have knitted some once-off contributions to help us reach 100 handmade knitted products. These include scarves, beanies, dish cloths and gloves.”
Over summer, Jaymie took a break from knitting to help battle the Gippsland bushfires with the Mount Eliza Fire Brigade. She joined as a volunteer while she was at high school and has now been serving for three years while completing her Bachelor of Arts and beginning her Masters in Development Studies and Humanitarian Aid.
“Scarves for Social Change has turned into something for others and for me – it’s great and feels very special. I’m grateful for the extra exposure and word of mouth, and of course to those who are willing to donate their hard-earned money.”
You’re more than welcome to join Jaymie’s talented band of knitters as well or get yourself a knitted goodie to warm your body and soul – and the lives of others – by visiting www.youthprojects.org.au/fundraisers/scarves-for-social-change or the Instagram page @scarvesforsocialchange