An Elgin resident has been providing a unique service to help children affected by cancer by making over 100 individual Worry Munchers.
Shona Woods, a professional kilt maker and designer, was approached by Jill Stewart of CLAN Cancer Support to make CLAN’s popular ‘worry munchers’. A 12-inch soft fabric pouch, a worry muncher is used by CLAN’s children and services team during counselling and emotional support sessions with young people affected by cancer. Made from a variety of different fabrics and colours to interest the child both aesthetically and tactically, the worry muncher is used to help young people discuss their feelings – which can be written or drawn on paper or card and placed into the muncher’s mouth, closing the chunky zip, shutting the worries away, and later on be opened by an adult at an appropriate time and discussed with the child.
A professional kilt-maker, Shona has been sewing since the age of seven when she would make clothes for her own dolls and was delighted to design and make individual worry munchers for the charity. To date, she has made over one hundred munchers, which include arms and legs, kilted bodies, furry heads, big googly eyes and chunky zip mouths.
As well as worry munchers and hand-sewn kilts, Shona also makes bespoke memory bears. Memory bears are made from clothing/fabrics which have special memories attached. This can be of loved ones passed away, new babies, special birthdays, retirements and weddings. Using zips, buttons, logos etc. from the clothing, these are personalised to enhance the memories of each individual.
Shona, who is also a classroom assistant at an Elgin primary school, said: “I am so delighted that my sewing skills have enabled me to produce worry munchers for CLAN, and I am fortunate to have lots of fabric leftover from kilts and other sewing projects which gives me a wide variety of colours and different materials to choose from.
“Each worry muncher is hand finished and I get great pleasure making each one special, knowing that it will be used and then treasured by a child going through a very difficult time. I know many of the staff and volunteers at CLAN in Elgin and am aware of the important work they do – particularly when it comes to supporting children and families.”
Tracy Seller, CLAN’s Service Area Manager, said: “Our children and family services team supports a large amount of people in Elgin and across the north-east. Many children are affected when their family members have a cancer diagnosis and it can be a very confusing and emotionally difficult time for them. Our trained team works closely with children in schools and at home to help them explore their feelings in a safe and secure environment. The worry munchers are just one of the many tools and techniques used to help young people feel supported which helps them to build resilience.
“We are very lucky to have Shona and her superb skills right here in Moray to produce the worry munchers which are used across CLAN’s bases and outreach centres right across the north-east of Scotland.”
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CLAN offers free support to anyone affected by cancer in north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. Please help support us.
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