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15 January 2020
By LOTTE REITER
A desire to help bushfire-affected wildlife has driven two Horsham women to combine their skills and form a Wimmera-based crafting community dedicated to creating animal pouches, blankets and beds.
Horsham nurse Nicole Miller and Bank of Melbourne Horsham branch’s Cecelia McDonald are sewing items to assist animal rescuers care for injured and young marsupials such as kangaroos and possums.
Their efforts form part of a growing community of people across Australia who are knitting, crocheting and sewing the shelter items as part of Animal Rescue Collective and Animal Rescue Craft Guild.
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And the pair is hoping to encourage other Wimmera people to pull out their sewing kit or needles and join the campaign.
Mrs Miller said she and Mrs McDonald created a Facebook page called Horsham Crafting for Bushfire Animals after realising they had both started to make items at home.
She said she hoped the page might provide inspiration and information for people in the area to pursue their own sewing or crafting projects.
“I think it’s that need of wanting to do something to help,” she said.
“And you can see there is a need – they’re talking something like billions of animals.
“That’s not just going to be this week, it’s going to be months moving forward with the lack of food and the environments that have been affected.
“So, we thought collectively in Horsham, if we all work together and if we can sew a couple of things each, we could send up some big boxes.
“And we thought having it all on the one site with the guild’s information about what things people should make and the patterns they can use would also be so much easier.”
Mrs Miller said the pair had also set up a drop-off point at Bank of Melbourne Horsham branch where people could donate both items they had made or materials for someone else to create the items.
She said materials included good-quality and clean old flannelette sheets, cotton and bamboo sheets, pillowcases and blankets.
“Anyone who can donate materials or help out in any way will be appreciated,” she said.
“We don’t want people to buy any fabrics though. Look at upcycling and asking friends and family for donations.
“People should also remember that it isn’t show sewing. They don’t need to worry about matching colours or anything like that, so even beginners can give it a go.”
Mrs Miller said any sewing, knitting or crocheting could also be a great school holiday project for children, particularly for those who might be watching the national news and wanting to help.
“There are a lot of kids sewing a lot of the very simple marsupial pouches at the moment,” she said.
“I think it’s really empowering for the kids to be able to have a little project and mail it off and feel like they are helping.”
The entire January 15, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!