If you walk into any room across the hospital, it’s likely you’ll spot a Very Snuggly Quilt. Across a bed, adorning a chair or scrunched in an embrace, these quilts are delivered to every single patient at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) via a network of volunteers, workshops, across-state trips and countless hours of dedication.
The Victorian Quilters Very Snuggly Quilt Auxiliary is one of 70 Auxiliaries at the RCH with a very special purpose: to bring comfort and joy to the patients of the hospital.
With a history of delivering quilts across the hospital since 1998, members of Victorian Quilters Inc. officially formed their Auxiliary in 2004. Since then the Auxiliary has delivered over 13,000 quilts. In collaboration with the clerks on each ward, the team work to match an individually made quilt to the age and gender of each inpatient.
“Each time we deliver a quilt to a child, we love seeing their faces light up and discovering the quilt is a perfect match,” said Auxiliary member Josephine Kelly. “When the soccer-loving boy can be comforted by the quilt with balls on it, and the girl dressed in purple, yellow and blue has a quilt in her favourite colours, it reaffirms everything we’re working towards.”
The Victorian Quilters Very Snuggly Quilt Auxiliary is made up of hundreds of makers from across the state. Throughout the year, Auxiliary member Marie Lee runs regular workshops and demonstrations everywhere from small country towns to large cities, providing an opportunity for all ages and skill levels to get involved.
“Our quilt-making workshops provide an opportunity for socially isolated and new community members to connect, learn and socialise. We welcome all skill levels, and will always find a way for someone to get involved,” said Marie. “I regularly get approached by community members who have heard about the program and have lovingly made a collection of quilts that they would like to donate to the hospital.”
And in a hospital setting, the quilts can make all the difference. “The ability to help make a patient’s room feel more comfortable, like home, can be a wonderful comfort to children who might have had to travel from interstate or be away from their extended family. Giving a child a handmade quilt often provides them with a positive souvenir from their hospital stay,” said Marie.
“We’re very proud to be known as The Quilt Ladies across the hospital, and to be in the position to bring a smile to each child’s face.”