Curtainbank to receive grant boost

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Curtain committee members Betty Bayley, left, Crystaline Bennett, Val Turner, Judy Gregor and Heather McKechnie.  Photo/Ben Fraser
Curtain committee members Betty Bayley, left, Crystaline Bennett, Val Turner, Judy Gregor and Heather McKechnie. Photo/Ben Fraser

Rotorua's Curtainbank will receive almost $7000 from BayTrust so they can fit more homes with thermal-lined curtains to improve the warmth and health of local families in need.

In a statement to the Rotorua Daily Post, BayTrust said the new funds would be spent on buying fabric to line and repair pre-loved curtains which had been donated to the charitable organisation.

Curtainbank trustee Heather McKechnie said about 10 houses are fitted with refurbished curtains each week, and money to buy the necessary linings had recently run out.

"I've been working with a large box of off-cuts and patching together linings as best I could because we had run out of money to buy new bolts of fabric. Thermal linings and calico are quite expensive so this money has just absolutely blown me away. I can't wait to go shopping for new supplies."

Ms McKechnie said the BayTrust grant, to cover operational costs, would also help pay the rent at Curtainbank's new headquarters at Te Arawa Racecourse's community hub.

Hundreds of second-hand curtains are stored on the site for people to choose from with all being repaired and lined where necessary and either steamed or professionally dry-cleaned.

Ms McKechnie said Rotorua residents were often shy about asking for help but it was important every window and glass door inside a home has proper curtains.

People living in caravans and garages are also offered help.

"It's all about insulation and warmth. It's a cool climate here in winter and there are lots of bronchial and respiratory diseases, especially among our children and elderly residents. Having curtains up helps prevent damp occurring, reduces heating costs and improves people's health," she said.

The Curtainbank also helped tenants talk to their landlords about installing proper curtains.

"Some landlords don't want curtain tracks to damage their woodwork so we go into bat for people. There's such a housing shortage here that people are often frightened of challenging their landlords so we can talk on their behalf."

Ms McKechnie said most people don't realise the level of need in the Rotorua community and new donations of curtains are always appreciated.

Curtains can be dropped off at the racecourse, at the Ngongotaha Op Shop, and at the Mokoia Community Association in Vaughan Rd, Owhata.

BayTrust CEO Alastair Rhodes said an important part of creating a healthy, prosperous community was ensuring homes were well-insulated.

"Our vision is to make the Bay of Plenty the greatest place to be and organisations like Curtainbank are doing a wonderful job of improving the lives of Rotorua families in need."

"Having a warm, dry, healthy home helps people to lead healthy, productive lives. We're very pleased to be able to support Rotorua's Curtainbank and contribute towards their operating costs so they can continue to make a positive difference in our community," he said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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