A caring Oswestry resident brought joy this Christmas when she delivered a special consignment of lovingly restored dolls as a gift to Hope House children’s hospice near Oswestry.

Kathleen Barnes has been putting her handicraft skills to good use by upcycling second-hand dolls and making them new outfits to give them a new lease of life. The family of 15 dolls will be used for play in the hospice.

For Mrs Barnes, who is in her eighties, the donation was a way of giving back to the community after enjoying her own new lease of life as a member of the weekly social groups run by Qube. The Oswestry based charity offers two weekly sessions where people can socialise, participate in creative activities, and listen to guest speakers.

Since joining this summer, the get-togethers have helped Mrs Barnes to rebuild confidence, friendships and independence, after personal loss and health issues during the COVID pandemic left her isolated at home.

Louise Bowen, Hope House fundraising administrator, said: “Kathleen’s gift has brought a huge smile to the children’s faces this Christmas. We thank Kathleen for all her hard work in creating such a wonderful collection of dolls.”

Seeing the hospice’s delight at her toys, Mrs Barnes has pledged to donate a large doll’s house made by her late husband. She has also donated a traditional advent calendar with picture windows that Hope House says will make an ideal Christmas countdown for the children.

Qube’s well-being and befriending coordinator, Bella Doolan, facilitated the tie-up with Hope House and accompanied Mrs Barnes to drop off the dolls. “It is immensely satisfying to be able to help our members and to see their lives improve by attending our groups,” she said.

Chatting over a cup of tea, Mrs Barnes revealed her life-long love of dolls and enjoyment in making all of the outfits. Thanks to Qube, she has now been able to share the joy and find a deserving home for all of her items.

The 83-year-old grandmother, who now walks to the social group after having been housebound for many months, said: “My family can’t believe the difference in me.”

Qube’s social groups are held at its service hub in Oswestry town centre. Anyone wanting further information should contact 01691 656882 for details.