Contributing to their local community in countless ways over the past 12 years has seen Juniper craft group Hugs and Stitches recognised as a nominee in the 2022 Community Citizen of the Year Awards. 

The awards provide an opportunity for local governments around WA to acknowledge the contribution and celebrate engagement of people within the community, with Hugs and Stitches among those nominated for the Active Citizenship Award, which recognises a group that has done outstanding work in the community over the past year.

Founded in 2010 by former Juniper employee Robyn Edwards – who was the resident hairdresser at Juniper Chrystal Halliday for more than three decades – Hugs and Stitches initially began as a way for her Mum to make new friends at Juniper Chrystal Halliday Retirement living. 

More than 12 years on, the group remains strong, having raised thousands of dollars for charities and organisations including Red Kite, Care Bags, Breast Cancer WA, Shoulder to Shoulder – Women’s Refuge, Brain Cancer Research, Radio Lollipop and King Edward Memorial Hospital. 

Hugs and Stitches also support Juniper Chrystal Halliday Residential Aged Care Home by making rugs and sensory items for residents living with dementia. 

Now boasting more than 20 members, the group meets every Thursday with all proceeds from their craft going to charity.  

While the group has impacted the local community in many ways, Hugs and Stitches founder Robyn Edwards said the group has given members a renewed sense of fulfilment and purpose in life. 

Being part of Hugs and Stitches craft group has enriched my life,” she said. 

“We started the group when my Mum came from Victoria and moved into (Juniper Chrystal Halliday Retirement Living) so she could meet other residents.   

“It started wonderful friendships and companionships, giving a sense of achievement, making items for the facility and other organisations, opening up another world to us.  I look forward to Thursdays for “my time” and meeting up with treasured friends.”  

Hugs and Stitches has also created a strong sense of community for those involved, with many members forming special friendships over the years.  

For Helen Townsend, being part of the group is more than just craft, it’s about the friendships she’s made and connecting with others. 

“The people in the group are dedicated to making everyone feel welcome and supported whether they do a craft or would just like company,” she said. 

“The crafting is not just for the sake of being busy, it is either given to those in need or sold at stalls to raise money for many causes. First and foremost, the group gathers for friendship and support if needed. It is a wonderful group to belong to!” 

Hugs and Stitches member Alison Rowe, who is a resident at Juniper Chrystal Halliday, has created many great memories since joining the group in 2015. 

My time with them has been especially rewarding,” she said.  

“It has given me the opportunity to resurrect latent skills and produce many crocheted items for charities, family, and friends.   

“The ladies wholeheartedly give of themselves to the mission of Hugs and Stitches craft group and it truly is a great pleasure to be a part of it and embrace their friendship.”

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