Introducing Bristol Twiddle Cuffs, a local organisation on a mission to supply every person living with dementia in the Greater Bristol area with a fiddle cuff… completely free of charge.
A “fiddle cuff” – also known as a “fiddle muff” – is a soft and comforting knitted or crocheted creation worn on the wrist which includes ribbons or buttons, giving someone with dementia something to hold and play with, easing any distress and anxiety they may feel.
Fiddle cuffs have been introduced to Bristol in a big way by local woman, Joanne Lee, whose mum has dementia and lives in a care home in Pucklechurch.
Joanne came across the idea after making a blanket and a teddy for her mum. Joanne had asked one of the carers if there was anything that the care home particularly needed which she could make and the carer told her that they desperately needed ‘fiddle muffs’:
Joanne explains: “I went away, looked into fiddle muffs and wondered if all care homes were short of these items that give so much comfort. I made a few phone calls and soon realised yes, they were all short of them.
“I then put an appeal out on Facebook for wool, ribbons, buttons and any other bits of fabric, or odds and sods to put on them. People’s generosity has been really overwhelming.”
Joanne now has people knitting and crocheting all over Bristol and Gloucester and has now set up drop-off points in Gloucester, Westbury-On-Trym, Bradley Stoke, Lockleaze, Mangotsfield, Brislington and BS3.
At these drop-off points people can drop off fiddle cuffs they have already made, or, they can instead donate wool (wool is always desperately needed) or other materials which can be used to make fiddle cuffs.
To date, 170 fiddle cuffs have been delivered in Bristol. Joanne now has also received an order from the NHS for 100 fiddle cuffs and many more orders from the NHS expected in the near future.
There is also a home in Hartcliffe who have asked her for 20 fiddle cuffs and a home in Whitchurch who need 17. On the day of writing this article, a delivery of 10 fiddle cuffs has just gone out to a home in Horfield.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. On this own this is a staggering amount. Even worse, this number is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. Faced with statistics like these, Joanne’s mission is hugely important.
Can you help Joanne by crocheting or knitting one or more fiddle cuffs? Your fiddle cuff doesn’t need to be complicated or beautiful to look at; rather, it should be soft, comforting and offer a person with dementia something to hold and help keep them occupied.
Or, maybe you have wool or other materials you can donate to help Joanne carry on with her quest?
To make a fiddle cuff or donate materials please email Joanne on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find out more by visiting the Bristol Twiddle Cuffs facebook page.