A cork crochet enthusiast seeks help making handcrafted accessories and blankets for a West Cork autism center and community hospital.
Dermot Hegarty is a Bandon community volunteer who first started knitting to support his sanity.
The 51-year-old was introduced to the hobby after joining his local center for family support and community wellbeing as a secretary in 2014.
“My mental health journey began in 2009. I’m a huge soccer fan and joined the Cork City Fan Club, where I was chairman,” said Hegarty The echo.
“When Cork City got into trouble in 2009, I put all my passion and energy into saving the club. I suffered a nervous breakdown that led to major depression and eventually bipolar disorder. “
Mr. Hegarty joined the Bandon Men’s Shed project in 2014 and later volunteered with Family Support and Community Wellbeing Bandon.
“I started knitting through the arts and crafts group and have never looked back,” he said. “I’ve never been happier doing something I love.”
However, his enthusiasm suffered a setback early last year due to the pandemic. It took a certain Olympian to rekindle the spark.
“2021 was not a good year for me due to a family loss due to Covid. I’ve lost interest in knitting and crocheting, ”said Mr Hegarty.
“It wasn’t until I watched the Olympics and met my hero Tom Daley knitting that I was inspired to take it up again.”
Mr. Hegarty gets his samples for his work from Youtube. At first he only knitted scarves, later he started crocheting and weaving looms. Last September he decided to start crocheting throws.
Now he wants to use his skills for his community. For the project, Mr. Hegarty plans to crochet over 75 items, which he believes will take about nine months.
To this end, he calls on everyone who has spare wool of every color and size to make a donation.
“I decided to crochet blankets, throws, scarves, and hats to donate to Bandon Community Hospital, the Jack & Friends Center for Autism, and St. Vincent de Paul in Bandon,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I can’t afford wool because of my disability allowance, so I called on Facebook to see if anyone had any wool they’d like to donate, and the response was great.
“I’ve made eight scarves so far this month.”
Mr Hegarty said the project will not only benefit his community but also his own mental health.
“I’ve seen a huge improvement in my mental health since I started the project, even my family doctor recently pointed it out.
“I would be happy if more men with mental health problems start knitting. Mental health must be a priority. “
If you want to donate wool for the project, you can contact Dermot Hegarty on Facebook.