Keen to put her crocheting skills to good use, Year 12 student Maia at Cheltenham Ladies' College has led an initiative encouraging staff and her fellow students to knit scarves and other woollen items for local charity, Cheltenham Open Door.
Cheltenham Open Door supports vulnerable, disadvantaged and lonely people in Cheltenham.
The organisation provides care and facilities free of charge for those in need; these services include breakfast and a two-course hot lunch, clean clothing, showers, food-to-go boxes and ‘street kits’ for guests not housed immediately.
Maia was keen to help: "After a year of crocheting miniskirts and crop tops for fun, I wanted to change what I was doing, and make something that would have a valuable impact and benefit someone other than myself.
"That is when I came up with the Open Door Scarf Project, where staff and students from CLC would come together to knit or crochet a scarf that would be delivered to Cheltenham Open Door for their guests to use for extra warmth and comfort."
Maia had a vast number of responses and, to her delight, the project soon expanded to hats, shawls and hand-warmers, as well as scarves.
Across the Autumn Term of 2021, Maia collected around 40 scarves and other knitted items.
She said: "I am amazed to see the support and love I received for this project.
"A huge well done and thank you to everyone who participated.
"Hopefully we can use our craft for good again in the future!"
As well as student-led initiatives like Maia’s Open Door Scarf Project, pupils are keen to be involved in CLC’s Community Links scheme.
Each year, students give up thousands of hours to take part in activities ranging from reading to the blind and teaching languages to primary school children, to grooming homeless pets at the local animal shelter and singing carols to residents of local care homes.
Local causes benefit a great deal from this voluntary work, but the projects also give pupils a broader perspective on life during a time when they are developing their attitude to the world.