Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund

Knit the Family

The good folk at the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund (RNRMCF) have worked with us since 2009, teaming up to develop campaigns and give them the headlines they deserve. In 2013, the RNRMCF asked us to devise a campaign centred around helping soldiers return to their families after active duty. An overlooked aspect of military service is the difficulty soldiers experience when integrated back into family life after a long period away.

We came up with a self-help book – Knit the Family – that provided expert advice and guidance for returning servicemen and women. But that’s not all we did. We wanted to add an engaging, interactive element to the campaign, so reached out to knitting guru Fiona Goble to create a pattern of a returning sailor or marine holding the hand of a girl or boy to literally represent the idea behind Knit the Family.

The public response was tremendous, and the charity received too many knitted dolls to count (we got there in the end, though.) Something so simple became an integral part of the campaign and even lead to a national photo story.

pieces of coverage

Over 10k dolls knitted

Reach (including 3 broadcast pieces)

The Client

The RNRMCF is a charity dedicated to supporting the children whose parents have served or are currently serving in the Royal Navy.

The RNRMCF understands how conflict can have an impact not just on the returning servicemen and women but on the families and children they leave behind. The RNRMCF trustees are comprised not only of serving officers and naval personnel but of civilians who bring a wide range of experience from other fields to enable them to offer guidance for those in need. Over the years the RNRMCF has worked to help countless children and families in difficult situations.

They Said

Having worked together before on a project basis, we were delighted to collaborate with the RNRMCF once more when it came to shining a light on the mental health issues faced by servicemen and women upon their return from active duty.

With PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and OSR (Operational Stress Reaction) an increasingly hot topic amongst military personnel, the RNRMCF reached out to us to raise awareness of the effect this has on both the sufferers and their families.

Challenge Accepted

We immediately set out to create a campaign that would achieve a powerful resonance with both those suffering from the condition and the media, who were needed to support the campaign.

The heart of the message was bringing families back together, so the campaign quickly became Knit the Family and this creative approach provided a rich seam of opportunity for the wider public to become involved and engage with the issue. We reached out to knitting guru Fiona Goble to create a knitting pattern of a returning sailor/marine holding the hand of a small child, and the pattern was delivered to a variety of different media titles to gain maximum awareness and – of course – loads of knitted dolls.

The response to the request was, for lack of a better word, overwhelming. The Spider House was inundated with delightful and evocative knitted dolls, ranging from soldiers and their cute daughters to a paraplegic soldier holding the hand of his son. The dolls truly reflected the reality of service personnel returning from conflict.

The campaign kicked off with an exclusive picture story in the Daily Telegraph. This was followed by widespread coverage in national, consumer, broadcast and online publications, spreading the Knit the Family message.

Job Done

The campaign secured national, consumer and online coverage with articles that focused in on the issues faced by returning sailors and marines suffering from PTSD and OSR as well as the impact it had on their families. In addition to the coverage, the RNRMCF was overwhelmed with the number of knitted dolls and soldiers sent in by the public.

The Knit the Family book has also been tremendously useful to naval families as they learn to knit themselves back together after a difficult time away.


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020 7403 6900


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The Spider House
4 Leathermarket Street,
London SE1 3HN

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