Knitting group 'barred' from meeting at local library because of 'dangerous needles'

Local authority says the group is too big for new facilities, while councillor condemns the decision

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The Independent Online

A community knitting group that makes garments for sick babies claims it is no longer allowed to meet at a library because it has been told its needles are "dangerous" and its members are too noisy.

The Knit 'n' Natter group has been meeting at the library in Cramlington, Northumberland once a week in order to knit replica anatomical parts for training NHS midwives.

But the library has been moved and the knitters claim that the local authority has barred them.

Northumberland County Council said there was not enough room for the group, which comprises 20-30 members.

A Council spokesman said the women were still welcome if they split into smaller groups.

Since forming three years ago, the group has knitted thousands of items of clothing for premature and sick babies.

The volunteers have also made 1,500 pairs of knitted breasts and are in the process of knitting wombs for midwives.

Margaret Derrick, a founding member of the group, said: "We've been told different stories and different complaints and I don't now know what to believe.

"We've been told knitting needles are dangerous instruments and against health and safety policy. We've also been told that it's because we are too noisy.

"We started at the library because the council asked us. As we got bigger, the council was delighted.

"Everything we knit goes out to help someone somewhere. It's just so sad, we can't afford to hire a room."

Local councillor Wayne Daley, a Conservative representing the Cramlington North ward, has condemned the decision as "barmy" and said the council should find the women a new meeting place.

"It is unbelievable that the county council can take a group that is successful and doing things for the NHS, and penalise them by throwing them out of what is supposed to be a community library," he said.

"I was told there were health and safety concerns over knitting needles - which is just barmy."

Mrs Derrick has said the knitters did not want to split into smaller groups.