Strengthening communities in Somerset

One of the key aims of Strengthening Communities, a Church Related Community Work project in Somerset serving Westfield (Bridgwater) & Canninton United Reformed Churches, is to respond to rural and urban deprivation. 

The South Western Synod-based project also seeks to help with problems associated with social isolation and changing community dynamics.

In this reflection, Marie Trubic, the project’s Church Related Community Worker, highlights one of the initiatives taking place in the area:

Cannington Yarn Bombers was formed during the Cannington URC Warm Space Initiative of 2023 to encourage more people to visit. This led to a member of the church suggesting that the village was “yarn bombed” as part of the Coronation celebrations. A Facebook post, highlighting the activity, encouraged a good crowd to see the spectacle which saw bollards and trees covered in creative yarn designs, alongside bunting and decorations for the event.

The yarn bombers has a core group of around 10 people who meet each Tuesday morning at Cannington URC. Various works have since been completed including poppy cascades and knitted Christmas trees. The group reuse the work wherever possible; the Christmas tree, Coronation tree wraps, and bunting have been made into blankets and donated to local charities, for example.

2024 has seen Cannington Yarn Bombers go international with two panels being produced as part of an 80th Anniversary Day Landings Commemorative piece: “The Longest Yarn”. A total of 80, 1m x 0.5m, panels will form an exhibition in the cathedral at Caranten from May to September after which it will go on a tour of the UK and next year the USA.

Cannington Yarn Bombers decided to get involved to honour the men of the US 535th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion who were stationed at Brymore House (now Brymore Academy) from February to the end of May 1944. They left for Dartmouth, landing on Utah beach on D Day June 6th, 1944.

One panel shows the camp in front of Brymore House, the second the troops leaving through the village. The work has taken three months to complete, the actual time spent doing the knitting, crochet and embroidery is probably in excess of 500 hours.

The finished artwork is on its way to France where it will be displayed alongside the other panels ready for the end of May, when Normandy will again be invaded, but this time by the world’s dignitaries, veterans and their families and friends remembering the events of 80 years ago.

Learn more about Church Related Community Work.