Describe the concept of Make Give Live…

It’s a social enterprise and movement that connects, empowers and enriches the lives of communities, while creating beautiful knitwear. I like to say we’re warming heads and hearts.

How does it work?

We hold weekly and fortnightly sessions where people get together to chat, laugh, enjoy cups of tea and knit beanies which are sold on a ‘buy one, give one’ model. For every beanie sold, we donate one to a homeless or elderly person in need.

What inspired its creation?

I hit a low point in my life where I had lost passion for my career in the digital world. It made me stop and think about what it was I wanted out of life. I have always been creative and I wanted to give back ‒ which is a great way to be purposeful with what you’re doing.
I developed pre-natal depression while pregnant with my daughter Chloe, now seven, and what really got me through was talking to people and knitting with a close friend. The mindfulness of each stitch really broke down the negative thoughts I was having.

How did you get started?

I thought ‘Claire, this could be something really cool,’ so I posted about it on Facebook and held the first event at the local library in Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland. That was two years ago.
People came and it grew and grew. I’ve never looked back. We’ve built up an amazing community with five Auckland groups and one in Christchurch. We knit with women’s refuge organisation, A Girl Called Hope, and plan to one day go into prisons.    

The movement really does touch multiple lives – you must be incredibly proud.

What makes me proud is how much time people are willing to give. I’m proud to have created a platform for people to connect. I think deep down people want to make the world a better place.
It’s about sitting around a table, sharing a laugh and a cup of tea in this incredibly fast-paced world. 

Do you need to be a good knitter to be involved?

Not at all! I’m actually an amateur myself. The other knitters like to make fun of me. They say, ‘Oh Claire, I thought you were really good!’ I’m not bad – just slow. But I know first-hand the therapy of it.
It doesn’t take long to knit a beanie. The other beautiful element to this is the skill sharing involved. Knitting is such a special talent to be passed on; I learnt from my patient grandmother. There is magic in the intergenerational aspect of the groups, like when a younger knitter who’s watched a Youtube tutorial teaches an older knitter a new trick. My daughter is currently making her first beanie ‒ it’s full of holes but she’s so proud. 

See makegivelive.com for more information and to get involved.

Reported by Monica Tischler for our AA Directions Summer 2018 issue

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