Norway knits for a warmer society

12/14/2017 4:02 PM CET

In Norway, Skanska has knitted orange scarves to keep out the cold and to fund Christmas dinner for the homeless and others in need. Many colleagues picked up a knitting needle, even some you might not expect.

Wilhelm Håkansson with Peer Christian Andersen (to the right) are two of the 40 or so men who have taken up knitting at Skanska in Norway to show solidarity and to help the less fortunate. “It really felt meaningful to give a contribution to people in need, but what made this special to me was the challenge to learn a new thing together with colleagues and the bonding that came with it,” says Peer Christian Andersen, Director of Environment and Safety at Skanska Norway.

"I was very enthusiastic when I heard that we would be knitting scarves for people in need, even though I had little experience with knitting. It has been a great way to show that we care for each other and our community," says Wilhelm Håkansson, Quality Manager at Skanska Norway.

He is one of the 153 employees at Skanska in Norway who has knitted scarves in his spare time, as part of the Skanska volunteering program.

A symbol of warmth and inclusiveness

Knitting orange woolen scarves is an initiative by Church City Mission. The organization received 15,000 homemade scarves and has distributed them all over Norway during November. They are left on statues, landmarks and tied around trees for anyone to take. The home-knitted scarves symbolizes a warm, inclusive and caring society.

"Seeing people living in the streets strikes a nerve. I had hoped for 30 knitters, but the number of volunteers exploded. Together we've spent approximately 1,256 hours knitting 157 scarves," says Eline Rølles Friis, responsible for Community Investment at Skanska in Norway, who has led the knitting activity taking place at Skanska this fall.

The orange scarves are tied around trees for anyone to take. Scarves are also left on statues and landmarks all over Norway. Courtesy Church City Mission

157 scarves and 864 meals

Along with every completed homemade scarf, Skanska in Norway has donated to the Norwegian humanitarian organization Church City Mission. The donation will finance traditional Christmas dinners to the homeless and others in need. The meals are served everyday throughout December at the church's cafés and meeting places across Norway.

With the money raised, Church City Mission will be able to provide 864 meals to individuals experiencing homelessness and social exclusion.

"Eating a hot good meal together with others can contribute to less loneliness and give a sense of joy. People need people, especially at Christmas. Better nutrition also helps to save lives," says Eline.

Read more about the scarf campaign by Church City Mission and how it all started. Go to Church City Mission's website (in Norwegian)

Fast facts

Here are some highlights from Skanska's knitting project in Norway:

  • 157 scarves
  • 153 knitters
  • 628 yarns
  • 30 kg of scarves
  • 1256 hours of knitting or 167 days of work
  • 864 meals for Christmas

Being a good neighbor

We are committed to supporting the communities in which we operate by drawing on our core competencies to address local social challenges. This will help us build for a better society.

Read more about our Community Investment