Meet the man from Cork who knits for charity and crochets for his mental health

A Cork man crochets hats, scarves and blankets to donate to three local charities and claims the art improves his mental health.

Dermot Hegarty, 51, takes on the huge craft project.

The Bandon man voluntarily knits, crochets and weaves pieces that will be donated to Bandon Community Hospital, Jack and Friends for Autistic Children and St Vincent De Paul.

Starting the project around Christmas 2021, Dermot has so far made 11 scarves. But the plan is to complete 60 scarves, 60 hats and 15 blankets.

Armchair throw made by Dermot

Dermot tells CorkBeo that he plans to devote the next 9-10 months to the artistic endeavor.

And the craft is very good for mental health, says Dermot.

“I’ve never been happier now doing something I love,” he says.

“My mental health journey started in 2009,” he says,

In 2007 Dermot was secretary of the Cork City FC supporters club and chairman in 2009,

“Cork City FC had financial problems and in the summer of 2009 I put all my passion and energy into getting involved in saving the club that I had a nervous breakdown,

“My mental health suffered,

“I was diagnosed with severe depression and eventually bipolar…I take a lot of medication and am on disability benefit.”

Dermot says the Arts and Crafts group at the Bandon Family Support and Community Wellness Center has really helped him.

“I started knitting through the center’s arts and crafts group and I never look back,”

Becoming a member of the Men’s Shed and the Inside Out mental health support group in Bandon, Dermot says he “got involved in the community”, volunteering and fundraising, as well as benefiting from mental health support.

Dermot plans to make and donate 60 hats among other handmade items

But Bandon’s Men’s Shed closed in 2019, which Dermot still hopes will reopen, and a family death in 2021 has been detrimental to Dermot.

“I lost interest in knitting and crocheting due to depression,”

But a familiar face brought Dermot back into the craft – his “hero”, British Team Olympic diver Tom Daley.

The diving star started knitting during the first Covid lockdown and inspired a love of the craft for many.

“Over the years since I started knitting, I’ve gotten my patterns from YouTube videos for scarves,

“Then I started crochet and loom weaving for hats and scarves and last September I decided to get into chair crochet throws,” says Dermot.

Olympic diver Tom Daley inspired Dermot’s return to the craft

“Since I started the project, I have seen a big improvement in my mental health,

“Even my local GP pointed this out to me recently,

“I’ve never been happier now doing something I love.”

But the kind-hearted knitter needs help with his project.

“I can’t afford wool,” he says, “I get a disability allowance.”

Dermot has launched a call on its Facebook page for anyone willing to donate wool of any type, size or color.

Anyone wishing to help can contact Dermot through his The Facebook page.