MAKING quilts for sick and traumatised children is like ‘giving them a hug’ in their time of need.

Dedicated volunteer co-ordinator Angela Hartle is appealing for more people to give up their time to support the worthy cause.

The charity recently made a special wheelchair-sized quilt for meningitis victim Ellie Hills, seven, who is recovering at Dorset County Hospital.

Mrs Hartle, 55, of Askerswell, Bridport joined the Project Linus charity two years ago and became its West Dorset co-ordinator in December.

She said: “When you get children that are sick or traumatised, the Project Linus approach is the equivalent of a bit of a hug.

“It’s letting someone know that other people are thinking about them.

“Children that go to West Dorset Women’s Refuge very often go in with nothing and leave with nothing.

“We can give them a quilt and it might just let them know people care.”

Mrs Hartle was head of human resources at Bournemouth and Poole College before her husband Rowland was promoted and enabled her to take early retirement.

Now she works for free to organise a dozen volunteers and is launching an urgent appeal for more people to get involved.

Quilts made by the charity makes large and small quilts of various designs and donates them to the children support group of Joseph Weld Hospice, Dorchester, West Dorset Women’s Refuge and the Kingfisher Ward at Dorset County Hospital.

Mrs Hartle added: “My role is to encourage volunteers to make quilts, find appropriate recipients for them and to go around collecting and delivering the quilts and fundraising.

“A lot of our volunteers like to use their own fabrics and are happy to do so, some aren’t.

“I’m always scouring charity shops and fabric sales.

“It’s got to be cotton fabric although I will use polycotton for backing them and wadding inside.

“A lady in Wyke Regis recently donated 12 boxes of fabric – it was lovely.

“We’re short of volunteers, quilts and money and desperately need some more.

“You do not have to be an expert to make a quilt that is beautiful and comforting to a child.”

Support for Project Linus

Project Linus is supported by Pauline’s Patchwork, Dorchester, which will be hosting full-day workshops every other month.

The workshops will run from 10am to 4pm at 8 Lower Blakemere Road, Poundbury on February 9, April 13, June 8, Tuesday August 2, October 12 and November 30.

You can help by donating quilts and fabrics and please bring your own machine.

A limited supply of fabric will be available and tea and coffee will be provided. The Project Linus Block Challenge for 2011 is Going Places, involving transport related themes.

The Dorset Echo also supported the project by printing leaflets and posters. Dorchester and District Angling Society have also donated £50 to the cause.

To find out more call Mrs Hartle on 01308 485463, email or visit projectlinusuk.