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Curtain Bank helps keep homes warm and healthy

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A warm home is a healthy home, and since 2008 the Red Cross Hawke’s Bay Curtain Bank has been helping local families avoid winter ills, and reduce their power bills.

Many referrals to the Curtain Bank, which is based in Onekawa, Napier, come from the Hastings area, and in the latest Contestable Grants funding round, the Hastings District Council allocated $3000 to support this valuable service.

Initially set up to help keep houses warm in winter and reduce the number of children being admitted to hospital with respiratory conditions, the service has grown significantly and now caters to all age groups, providing curtains for people living anywhere between Wairoa and Takapau.

At the Onekawa Curtain Bank on any Tuesday or Thursday morning, sewing machines, scissors and measuring tapes are all put to use as volunteers refurbish curtains that have been donated.

Curtain Bank co-ordinator Janice Zachan says volunteer numbers have grown from three when the service started to 17 today, all with different skills that are put to good use recycling curtains that are put into homes that might otherwise have no curtains, unlined curtains, or just a sheet hanging in the window.

“The people we have here are passionate about working in the Curtain Bank – that’s why they turn up, they want to help other people.”

Referrals for families needing curtains come mainly through the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Healthy Homes programme and over the 10 years the Curtain Bank has been operating, 13,500 curtains have been given out, says Janice.

“Those involved with the DHB programme constantly tell us how grateful their clients are to get the curtains and how much difference they make to their homes.

“Homes provided with lined curtains in bedrooms, lounges and dining rooms are warmer and the expected outcome is that there will be fewer hospitalisations with respiratory conditions, as well as reduced power bills for lower income households.”

Another benefit of lined curtains is that they provide privacy, particularly at night, which helps with family safety – and in environmental terms all the curtains that are being re-used means less material going to the landfill.

Hastings district councillor and grants committee member Malcolm Dixon says this was one of the more creative and innovative funding applications received.

“The service that the Curtain Bank is providing is meeting a real need in our community. The committee was delighted to support this very worthy group of volunteers with their project.”

The Curtain Bank was one of 37 community services, projects and organisations to receive a share of the $245, 500 that was distributed in the 2019/20 funding round.

27 June 2019

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