Banking on more donations


The curtains have not closed on the Dunedin Curtain Bank just yet – but the organisation still needs more donations to tide it over, its manager says.

A gap in funding grants and the expiration of its insurance cover last week meant the bank, which gives out free thermal-backed curtains to Dunedin residents, was dangerously close to closing, manager Tess Trotter said.

Since the issue was publicised in the Otago Daily Times last the trust had received more than $3000 in donations, but that would only tide it over “a few more weeks”, she said.

Ms Trotter had been advised the $14,000 left in the bank account would keep it running until mid-June, but some of the funds had been pegged towards particular parts of the organisation, such as volunteer expenses, and could not be used on general running costs, such as rent.

No funding grants were being announced for a few more weeks and the next grant would be given out in July at the earliest, she said.

The curtain bank was “really grateful” for the donations received so far. People had given online, through bank transfers or by hand-delivering donations, she said.

While the curtain bank was struggling for funds, it was receiving more referrals for curtains. She thought that might be because people concerned about closure were hurriedly returning their referrals papers to get curtains.

“It comes at a time when it’s been so cold.”

Ms Trotter said while some clients would only need one or two pairs of curtains for their homes, others could need up to 10 pairs, which meant a lot of work for the already busy volunteer team.

The organisation’s steam iron had also recently broken, forcing it to work with a standard iron and creating a “backlog” of sewing jobs, she said.

Ms Trotter was grateful to all the bank’s volunteers and encouraged people to support them through the uncertain time.

“[We are focusing] on keeping the doors open.”

The Dunedin Curtain Bank was extending its opening hours from 8.30am to 2.30pm on Mondays to Thursdays to deal with the workload, she said.

For more information on the curtain bank or to donate, visit