New curtain service to combat cold

Stylish up-cycling . . . Dunedin Curtain Bank Trust chairwoman Kim Beckett (left) and manager Sara Crow are delighted with the attractive bags volunteers have made from top-quality curtain fabric for the new Enviroshop. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The Dunedin Curtain Bank is launching a new curtain lining and alteration initiative, in the hopes of helping to warm up cold Dunedin families in winter.

Founded six years ago, the not-for-profit organisation has given away 400-600 pairs of curtains each year to families in need, people with health issues and the elderly.

However, although it has given away more than 2500 pairs of curtains so far, Dunedin Curtain Bank Trust chairwoman Kim Beckett and manager Sara Crow feel they are not reaching the full scope of Dunedin’s unhealthy homes and cold families.

“There are many people in Dunedin who don’t qualify for a community services card, but who would still find it very difficult to buy new, quality curtains,” Ms Crow said.

To help these people, and to earn funds to support the organisation, the Dunedin Curtain Bank is trialling a paid curtain lining and alteration initiative.

This would involve altering and lining the existing curtains of families and individuals, to add a double layer of fabric to keep out the cold.

“We are starting with a pilot of the service for the next three months, so we are really hoping that it takes off,” Ms Crow said.

Along with the lining and alteration initiative, the curtain bank is making use of some of the most beautiful fabrics it receives, both vintage and modern, to make fashion bags and draught stops, as well as making produce bags from net curtains.

A space at the Dunedin Curtain Bank premises, upstairs at 174 Princes St, has been set aside as an Enviroshop to sell these goods.

“We get so many fabulous curtains and fabrics donated that are not quite right for our curtain service, so we are really pleased to be able to re-use them this way,” Ms Beckett said.

The stock for the Enviroshop has been sewn by curtain bank volunteers, as well as members of the Quilters and Patchworkers of Otago group.

“We are hoping that these initiatives will help the Dunedin Curtain Bank to be self-sustaining and put us on a firm footing for the future,” she said.

Ms Crow said the organisation enjoyed strong community support – many hundreds of good-quality curtains had been donated by the public.

“Just over the Christmas period, we had dozens of curtains donated, which is very heart-warming.”

The Dunedin Curtain Bank is also calling for more volunteers to help with its services – particularly handling and sewing curtains.

Details of the new initiatives and the curtain bank service are on the new website