The Community Harmony Scarf is a project supporting young people’s mental health.
I’m making a scarf out of ribbons long enough to first wrap around King Power Stadium in Leicester and then the whole world.
I use the Scarf in lots of different ways in the work I do as a therapist, teacher and community engagement facilitator.
Every ribbon in the scarf represents a person, every person matters and everyone has something to contribute.
The Scarf was born out of emotional resilience work that I was doing with young people at a youth centre. We were using ribbons to demonstrate how beautiful and individual we all are and to develop a sense of self-acceptance along with tolerance of others.
In 2017 I was involved in organising the Big Lunch community harmony event in our borough and I had the idea of getting everyone who attended the event to choose a ribbon to be knitted into a scarf which would then go on display in our local library.
However, once it was created, the Scarf took on a life of its own and caught people’s imaginations in a way I never could have dreamed of!
As people chose ribbons they would often chat to me, sharing thoughts, feelings, ideas, wisdom and suggestions which I then passed on to others.
Sometimes I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to offer emotional support and I began to realise just what a wealth of knowledge and compassion is contained in the ordinary people of our community. The most inspiring people are those who feel that they are not inspiring at all and together we can create an environment where all of our young people can thrive and find their place in the world.
The Scarf has become a metaphor for life; when all the ribbons are knitted together it creates something that is stunning, but it’s full of knots and holes, ins and outs, lumps and bumps, just like life. I find that people find this concept very easy to relate to and it encourages conversation and reflection.
The Scarf has become a story of our community and goes everywhere with me, not all of it of course because I now have around 200 metres!
It has proved to be a wonderful platform to discuss all aspects of mental health on a level that people are comfortable with and has been connecting and uniting people far and wide. The idea of us coming together to achieve a huge, unbelievably great goal appeals to many people.
It is an inclusive and multi-sensory project. People love the beauty, the colours and textures of the Scarf as well as the mindful activity of creating it. Wherever it goes it generates a sense of joy, hope and possibility.
There are absolutely no rules to the Scarf; I have a history of anxiety and depression myself and I believe that one of the factors that can contribute to poor mental health is the feeling that we have to change ourselves to fit in with society’s systems which is a struggle for many of us. Therefore I do my best to adapt the Scarf to the requirements of those interacting with it and this is how it has become the wonderful creation that it is now. Everyone is a unique and amazing individual and when you put us all together, allowing us to be ourselves, we have the potential to create something spectacular!
The Scarf is knitted in sections and at the time of writing there are 146 of these. Each section has a theme, these are all things that are important and matter in life.
There are around 10 other people currently creating their own sections of the Scarf, including a friend of mine in Paris.
My dream would be for there to be a ribbon in the Scarf to represent every single person in the world.
The Community Harmony Scarf doesn’t just contain ribbons, we have knitted all kinds of things including recycled materials and bits of “rubbish”.
I work closely with my local Mental Health Forum, using the Scarf in all kinds of community initiatives and particularly support the Chatty Café Scheme.
During the current Covid-19 situation I am continuing the work of the Scarf virtually and through social media.
I do get through a lot of ribbons, most of which I buy myself as this is my passion. There have been a number of very kind people who have supported the project by donating money and ribbons. I don’t ever ask for money, but never turn down any offers of donations or help.
I would love it if everyone who reads this would choose a ribbon and if any knitters would like to get involved in making their own Scarf sections I would be delighted.
You can contact me via my website http://www.claritywithclare.co.uk/
and follow the progress of the Scarf through social media:
We are living in very challenging times and I have faith that we can support each other through this and together create a better, kinder world afterwards.
Sending love and hope to the whole world,