Winter’s here but a strengthened relationship between Turanga Health and Curtain Bank Gisborne means more Tairāwhiti families are getting help to stay warm.
Established in 2009 to provide made-to-measure curtains for people and families on low incomes, Curtain Bank Gisborne volunteers are always busy snipping, stitching and sewing to restock their shelves with donated curtains.
Families from all over the district are referred for upcycled drapes and curtains by Plunket, Women’s Refuge, Barnados and Work and Income. But the biggest referrer is Turanga Health. In the past 12 months 40 whānau have received new window coverings as a result of the bolstered relationship between the two organisations.
“We receive referrals from all over but Memory Taylor at Turanga Health has smoothed the way for our organisations to help each other out much more,” says Curtain Bank Coordinator Sharron Hall. “Sixty percent of Curtain Bank’s referrals now come from Turanga Health. Memory is just what we needed.”
Memory is Turanga Health’s Healthy Home Kaiāwhina. Healthy Home interventions include referral to health and social agencies, installing insulation and ventilation, and design improvements to houses. Support can be anything from curtains to draft stoppers, or in some cases, help with transferring a family to more appropriate housing.
Memory sees the culprits of a cold home as soon as she walks in. No curtains, draughts under doors, crumbling insulation, and expensive yet ineffective sources of heat. When she began her job 12 months ago one of her first ports of call was Curtain Bank in the Red Cross rooms on Palmerston Rd.
“My first impressions were ‘what a lovely group of ladies’. All of them giving up their free time to help the community. I wanted to be part of it.” Now, as well as a referrer, Memory is one of seven volunteers who sew curtains every Tuesday.
Once a referral is received complete with window measurements, it takes three to four weeks before curtains are ready for hanging. Memory will hang the curtains herself, or families will call in to the Curtain Bank to pick up their curtain parcel.
Sharron and Memory love the reactions of families. Memory says it makes her feel like Santa “The good thing is that all our clients are appreciative of anything they receive. It’s awesome. And it’s why I love my work. It doesn’t matter if there’s a patch in the fabric or if it doesn’t match the carpet - they are so happy.”
There’s only one problem. “We are always running out of curtains but never running out of needy families,” says Sharron. “Please donate your old curtains if you are refurbishing. We will be able to make something out of them. Don’t chuck them away.”
Anyone with old curtains, rods or racks, fabric or hooks, is encouraged to drop them to Curtain Bank Gisborne, Red Cross, 336 Palmerston Road, any day of the week.
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