About the Siblings Together Quilt Group

Here is the beginning of the Quilts for Siblings Together story in Lynne Goldsworthy's own words from 2012:

It all started for me [Lynne] earlier this year when I took the kids down to stay at my sister's house in London and a friend of hers was there having a cup of tea.  My sister told Sian I made quilts and Sian started to tell me about a charity called Siblings Together which worked to bring together siblings separated by the care system.  She told me that they run summer camps where these children can just be together and have fun together as siblings and that Delma, who set up the charity, was trying to find out whether it would be possible to get people to make each one of these children on the summer camps a quilt to keep, their very own home-made quilt.  Which got me to thinking.  Maybe if I rallied around a few quilters, between us we might be able to make a few quilts.  And so I posted this post, started this Flickr group, and thought "here goes nothing".

Siblings Together -- all done!

Within only a few hours, it became clear that, not only might we manage a handful of quilts, we would probably send more than was needed for that first summer camp.  People started groups to make quilts together, people pledged quilts, people made one, two, three, four, five quilts.  Offers of help came in not just from the UK but from around the whole world.  Shops donated fabrics and quilts, quilters offered quilting services, individuals gave away whole chunks of their stash.  The response completely overwhelmed Delma and me.  We have smashed the fifty quilts for this summer target and have sent enough quilts for a possible October camp.  And I'm hoping we keep kick starting this initiative so that next year's camp kids will have their own quilts too.  And the year's after that.  And the year's after that.

A stack of quilts for Siblings Together   

But I thought it would be more interesting for you to hear from Delma more about Siblings Together, how it came into being and why she set it up and continues to work so hard to make it work, to make it better and to do more for these children separated from their siblings by the care system.  Oh and a little warning, tissues will be required.  

Sew Cherry 1

Delma, founder of Siblings Together:

I've worked as an Art Therapist with children in care for 20yrs often hearing children say the same things time and again, what they wouldn't give to share some time with their brothers and sisters; their lives would be so different.

2 little dicky birds sitting on the line

I had spent almost 16 years as a child in care myself after being abandoned as a baby, living apart from 6 other siblings, never seeing one another, it took almost 10 yes to find them, sadly we were so distant it was hard to reconnect, we had little shared history or positive experiences other than the misery of growing up in the care, then thrown onto the streets at 16 when told to leave.

Moonshine - A finished Quilt

I decided to do something to change all this, and established Siblings Together, to create a positive place/experience, a camp, a charity reuniting brothers and sisters who are in the care system and those adopted who want contact, also in Kinship Care ie cared for by a family relative if parents have died or have issues which mean they are unable to parent their children.

HST charity quilt

Children are the victims of these often extremely damaging families.  Whether they have been abused neglected or abandoned, they deserve the right to experience a sense of family and belonging. Like anyone else, they want and need to have connections. When children enter the care system they are invariably separated.  84% face isolation and loss, they lose the closest people to them; their siblings, the longest relationship they are likely to have in their lifetime.

Siblings Together donation quilts

We work to adress this by firstly setting up camps which I began almost 6 years ago, with 20 children all coming together with their brothers and sisters.  Since this time I have founded a charity with incredible trustees who are very supportive and pro active.  Our camps have grown and developed to be known across the UK, we would love to run more but haven't the resources financially.

Girly quilt top

We also now run a "MAD's" (Monthly Activity Day for siblings) based in Camden Town, London.  We take over a small centre and have fun for the day.  Each and every month, siblings from across London and far afield travel for this one special day which they all love.  We are always seeking funding to keep it running, and want to establish another day as we are filled to capacity.

One of the things we often noticed at camp was those cold evenings, in the tent.  So I set about writing to charities and found a knitting charity where people were prepared to make blankets for our children. I spoke with our trustees (Sian is one such person) about this and how amazing it would be for each child to have a blanket of their own to keep.  To have a very special object to treasure and keep from their adventures.

Siblings Together Older Boys Group Quilt

This started in a small village in Pembrokeshire, Wales where they were all knitting squares together for our kids.  I had considered quilts as very special indeed and had tried to find a connection to any quilters without success.  And then one day Sian contacted me to say she had met with a quilter who understood the whole notion of children wanting something special just for them and so began the Quilts for Siblings Together initiative which so many of you have so generously and kindly helped with. 


Our camps are incredible; they are often the first time in years many have shared more than an hour's contact together.   It is often quite emotional for them, they know what they have lost and our camps make sure they can enjoy a wonderful shared experience together without social workers, residential staff or foster carers' intrusions.  They can be a 'family' even for a short time.  This can often be life changing for them.


Children in care often move from place to place and find themselves hundred of miles apart from their siblings.  They mostly have different social workers who even lose sight of the fact they have siblings as they change so frequently.  We had 3 brothers who attended two of our camps, twins and a younger brother, who had been moved to over 50 foster homes in just 4 years.  Coming to camps was a very special experience for them all, and strengthened their relationship bond massively.

Siblings Together quilt top

We have groups of 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 siblings each month, all supported by volunteers who commit their time each and every month to be their mentors.   We are working towards setting up a pilot siblings befriending programme in September, a massive feat, a pilot never before set up in the UK so another adventure ahead.


And thank you - the amazing quilters from around the world who responded to our charity, we have a collection of approx sixty quilts so far.   Forty-five of these will be given to the children coming to camps this summer.   We are also hoping to run a camp during October half term if we raise enough funds, where the other quilts will go.  We will always have more children to help and we will always need more quilts to keep them warm.

ST Quilt

The whole concept of having something that belongs to you, made for by others just for you is just unheard of  for most children in care, they enter care with nothing and leave with nothing mostly.  The quilts you have made will change that for so many, they will have something extra extra special.  Not only to keep but perhaps to pass on to their own children.  Just the thought of this makes me so happy.  Delma, Siblings Together

Siblings Quilt 3 - Finished

And from Lynne, thank you to all the people who have jumped in with both feet and worked to make something special for these children or have donated fabrics, time or resources.  So that I can read more and cry more, what I would really love you to do is to write a blogpost about why you became involved in this initiative, what it meant to you, what you made, donated, helped with.  And pictures of course would be lovely so that we can see all the wonderful quilts that have gone to Siblings Together or will do at some point in the future.

And a few words, to carry on the story, from Mary Emmens last year:

Hi, I'm Mary, I'm here to ask for your, help in the fourth year of the quilt drive for Siblings Together. In the UK there are approximately 40,000 children in care now who are living separated from brothers and sisters who are also in care, and a further 4,000 children entering care and separated from siblings each year. Siblings Together provides opportunities for planned, enjoyable, creative and high quality sibling contact, for children living in different care arrangements.

Back in 2012 Lynne started the drive to make quilts for the charity to give out to the children at the camps.   They have been so well received and here is an extract from one of the camp blogs last summer:

Saturday 4th August – Throughout the camp relationships blossomed within and between sibling groups and with the many volunteers who gave their time to make the camp happen. To say goodbye, each camper was presented with a certificate to celebrate the many talents and achievements that shone throughout the week. They were also given a quilt, each made specifically for the Siblings Together camps by the quilting group which has members from across the globe. Each quilt was chosen specifically for each camper by their mentor(s) to ensure each quilt matched the personality 
of the camper.


 One of the children said in their feedback “and my blanket/quilt is so warm and keeps me safe”.

  Siblings Together quilts in action 

So how about making a quilt to give to a child who might only get to spend one week a year with their siblings?  A quilt that become part of a great memory of a week spent together, something to be treasured?  Children in care are massively disadvantaged:
  • Today in the UK, 36 per cent of care leavers aged 19 are not in education, employment or training (NEET)
  • Nearly a quarter of girls in the care system become teenage mothers
  • 24 per cent of the total adult population in prison have been in care
  • 11 per cent of homeless people are care leavers
  • 70 per cent of sex workers have been in care. Figures from the CSJ (Centre for Social Justice)
I'm not aware of any research that proves that giving a child a quilt improves their chances in life but I don't doubt that it will help them feel valued and loved and that has to be a good thing. Last year a group of us got together and put a call out on IG and Flickr for quilt blocks for Siblings Together. We received 211 blocks and used every single one of them making 3 quilts for the charity.
  Siblings Together Quilts 

 They made many more last year from this block Home Sweet Home :





  1. Hi there,
    I read you blog . Very informative.This is a gorgeous one. Thanks a lot for sharing this good one.Many traditional hand quilters may disagree with the intrusion of Long Arm Quilting Machine into the realms of quilting and that it is considered a necessary tool in creating a quilt. To know more visit-quilting notions


  2. Thank you for sharing. You gotta remember no one is perfect. NO ONE. Everyone has baggage, probelms, and challenges.This is very informative it is

    the same topic as i found on this website about siblings day