More than 12,000m2 of curtains recycled despite lockdown
Despite a nearly two months lockdown, CEA’s Curtain Bank managed to collect, resize, and hand out more than 12,000m2 in recycled curtains to needy households in 2020. That is nearly ten Olympic sized swimming pools or two rugby fields covered with curtains, which would otherwise have ended up in landfill. Instead these curtains have been given a new lease on life in the homes of low income New Zealanders, keeping them warmer and healthier.
The curtains helped well over 400 households in 2020, benefitting more than a thousand people in Canterbury and the West Coast. Covering more than 2,000 windows, we can only guess how much energy has been saved, energy that otherwise would have flown out the window, now keeping people warmer and healthier.
And that is no mean feat we think, in a year where the Curtain Bank had to close for an extended period due to COVID-19 restrictions. Like a decade earlier we managed to keep the Curtain Bank going through the earthquakes, we now managed to adapt to this new challenge and our Curtain Bank staff and volunteers have taken it all in their stride.
Before the doors closed for the lockdown, staff and volunteers gathered fabric unsuitable for curtains as well as curtain offcuts, and took the fabric home. And instead of putting their feet up during the forced period at home, they made fundraising products such as re-usable shopping bags from that fabric. In the weeks after the lockdown, with staff back but no customers allowed in, staff chose curtains for customers based on their preferences and customers collected the curtains in a contactless pick-up. Then after all restrictions lifted, curtains were handed out as-is-where-is at market days and health expos to get a large amount of curtains to as many people as possible quickly helping at least another 100 customers. Like for most organisations, for us it was definitely an interesting year with a lot of improvising!
The Curtain Bank is not a small operation and we are very fortunate to have the financial support of Genesis, Lottery Grants Board and Christchurch Casino. However, despite their generous contributions, for customers who are able, we ask for a gold coin donation or more (especially from landlords) onsite. We also have a Givealittle page if you would like to donate through that. All of that helps to support the service and keeps it sustainable.