The Red Scarf Project

WHAT'S NEW IN 2016?

As we look forward to AIDS Awareness Week we would like to ask your help in reaching our agency goal of over 1,500 red scarves. That is double the number we acheved last year for double the impact in our community!

For the fifth year running we will be creating art installations in downtown London and regionally, including Stratford, Woodstock and Sarnia using red scarves that, when tied to an object, look like large red ribbons, the ribbon of HIV/AIDS awareness. People will be encouraged to take the scarves along with a message about HIV/AIDS, the red ribbon and the UNAIDS capaign "Getting to Zero"

Want to make a scarf?

We kindly request that scarves are knit/crocheted using red yarn and measure about 6" x 60" (15cm x 150cm). If you have the capacity to purchase your own yarn, please do. We are happy to provide yarn to those who could otherwise not participate thanks to a donation from Union Gas. You can pick up yarn at reception during our regular business hours Mon-Fri, 9-5. Please contact Martin at mmcintosh@hivaidsconnection.ca for more information

Please have scarves to 186 King St, London by Novemebr 18, 2016. The sooner , the better as we label the scarves in advance of the installation Novemebr 24th.

 The history of The Red Scarf Project

In 2012, its first year, The Red Scarf Project was a public installation of hundreds of red scarves on the streets of downtown London and Stratford, by staff and volunteers of the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. This was the focus for the agency of  AIDS Awareness Week and leading up to World AIDS Day on December 1st. Scarves are knitted or crocheted by talented community members and donated to Regional HIV/AIDS Connection for this key awareness raising event. People who found the scarves were encouraged to wear them, take them home, read the attached information tag and spread the important message of awareness. In the first year over 350 scarves were made by people in our service area and beyond!

In 2013 we focused on amplifying impact by handing out red ribbons with some of the scarves. The ribbon was on a card inviting recipients to pass along the ribbon to someone else to keep the conversation, education and awareness going. Regional HIV/Connection also received a “Big Red Scarf”, measuring 2 ft. by 15 ft. At our request, it was lovingly knit by Pat Sole of the “Knitwits”, at First- St. Andrew’s Church. This scarf will appear in social media campaigns and public events for the Red Scarf Project, to help create HIV/AIDS awareness for years to come.

Thank you to the "Knit Wits" (from left to right) Anne Cummings, Marion Wilson, Jan Richardson, Mary Ellen Gustafson, Sheila Alton, Pat Sole, Ann Mackenzie.

Regional HIV/AIDS Connection created this community event to spread awareness about the local significance of HIV/AIDS, the significance of the red ribbon as an international symbol of AIDS awareness and to highlight the UNAIDS vision “Getting Zero” – Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths. “The red scarves are enlarged versions of the red ribbon, the international symbol of AIDS awareness" says Brian Lester, Executive Director of Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. "With this innovative idea we have hit upon something that seems to be resonating with the community and that will help us raise awareness about the work we do. It also provides an interesting entry point for helping educate the broader community about HIV/AIDS as an ongoing issue of importance locally. Since we know that approximately 65,000-68,000 Canadians are currently living with the illness and approximately 30% of those individuals do not know their HIV status.”