Knit and Natter
1257. Frances Jones
Frances Jones MBE, aged 76 from Holyhead, runs ‘Knit and Natter’ groups across North Wales, fighting loneliness among blind and partially sighted people by organising regular meetups where people knit and socialise.
After being diagnosed with Macular Degeneration, Frances received help from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Cymru and has since spent the past 12 years tirelessly volunteering with the organisation and championing the needs of other blind and partially sighted people. She realised how isolating it can feel to lose sight and was inspired to help people socialise and still enjoy the activities they love together. As well as her ‘Knit and Natter’ meet-ups, Frances was also instrumental in setting up a unique initiative on Anglesey, the RNIB Cymru Listening Books Group, which involves people with sight loss meeting up to read books and chat about them.
In a personal letter to Frances, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how ‘Knit and Natter’ is fighting the isolation and loneliness too often felt by those who are blind or partially sighted.”
“I am deeply honored to receive this award. It is a privilege to help and support people with sight loss. I myself am severely sight impaired and know the feeling of isolation. The groups go from strength to strength. Many good friendships have been formed from this, and the best part of all is being in contact with the community.”