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Local Quilters Win National Award

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

18 September 2008 - Last night (Wednesday 17 September 2008), Avebury House Community Trust's Hugs All Round Patchwork Quilt Programme won the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA)'s Outstanding Community Recreation Programme Award 2008.

This community-based programme, in which volunteers make quilts for disadvantaged children, caught the judges' attention because of the positive effect it has on everyone involved.

"This is a win-win programme," says NZRA spokesperson Kirsten Malpas. "Those who make the quilts benefit by socialising, being creative and contributing - and those who receive them feel special and valued. It's simple, engaging and most definitely worthy of an NZRA Outstanding Award."

The name Hugs All Round reflects this mutually beneficial relationship. The idea for the programme came from the local community just over two years ago. Since then, 17 volunteers who meet weekly to sew, have produced more than 150 quilts and given them to disadvantaged children in the Christchurch area.

The sewing volunteers meet at Avebury House in Richmond - a community facility run by the Avebury House Community Trust. The trust aims to create a more caring community by linking with other groups and providing support and assistance.

"Each quilt is named and we have a presentation ceremony where the people who made the quilt give it to its owner," says Kirsten Malpas. "The happiness and satisfaction the quilters get in giving the quilt, is only matched by the joy the children show when receiving them."

The quilting programme's popularity has seen similar ventures started in other parts of Christchurch.

The Avebury House quilters have formed a great network - dropping off and collecting work from volunteers who can't always make the weekly sewing sessions. They also receive contributions from Ferndale Special School students and Beckenham Courts Retirement Home residents who make motifs for the quilts.

To find quilt recipients, the trust works with several community groups - including West Christchurch Women's Refugee, Barnardos, Christchurch City Council and Cholmondeley Children's Home.

The Outstanding Community Recreation Programme Award was presented at a gala dinner in Christchurch last night. Recreation professionals from more than 15 countries are currently in Christchurch attending the 2008 International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration's Asia Pacific Congress.

The Congress is being hosted by the New Zealand Recreation Association and Christchurch City Council.

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