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Curtain Bank 10th birthday

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Ten years just the curtain raiser for Wellington Curtain Bank

More than 16,500 sets of free curtains are warming the homes of 4636 Wellington families as the city’s Curtain Bank celebrates 10 years of making homes healthier.

Run by Sustainability Trust, the Wellington Curtain Bank started in 2009 in response to a need for curtains in the community, and a desire to reduce textile waste going to the landfill.

Now entering its second decade, Community Manager Susie Robertson says "the curtain bank has upcycled 74,782kgs of curtains and fabric, which would have otherwise been dumped"

It started with a couple of volunteers and has grown to a team of 26 who last year donated 3580 hours of their time.

Ms Robertson says "while the numbers are impressive, the real story is the families for whom the curtains are making a daily difference to the quality of their lives".

"What makes this work so rewarding is not only that we’re helping to create warmier, healthier homes, but also that these curtains give people comfort and confidence in their homes," she says.

Families who’ve received help from the Wellington Curtain Bank are quick to endorse its value.

One mum who wrote to say thank you for the help given to her family said she was "sleeping better knowing my kids’ rooms are warm."

Another curtain recipient Jane Himona said the curtains have made a really big difference, both to her power bill and to the warmth of her home. "The improvement has been very significant."

Susanna Hay, who has used the Curtain Bank twice for different rental properties, said she appreciated being able to remove her rental’s dark, smelly curtains and replace them with clean, full-length, brightly coloured curtains.

"I am a single mum on a benefit, with a young child. Having to move a lot was part of our life. The curtain bank helped to ease the financial and other stresses around this. Thank you," she said.

Graham Stewart spoke of the additional benefit to his emotional wellbeing. "The quality of the work helped me feel better about myself at quite a low point. I think it was just (knowing) that someone had personally done it for me, to help, (it) was very uplifting."

Susie Robertson says the feedback from families who receive curtains is heart-warming and reinforces the value of the Curtain Bank’s work.

"When you see people’s delight, whether it’s because their homes are so much warmer, the reduced costs of heating their home, even the way having curtains makes them feel happier in their homes, it’s so uplifting for everyone involved."

The Wellington Curtain Bank officially opened a month earlier than usual this year to keep up with expected demand.

"We recently collected a van load of high quality curtains donated by CQ Hotels, which has put us in a great position to start the new year. Of course, more donations from businesses and individuals are always welcome," she says.

Anyone with a Community Services Card or a SuperGold Combo Card is eligible to receive free curtains through the Wellington Curtain Bank. "We encourage people to place their orders early so they receive the curtains as quickly as possible and before winter kicks in," Susie Robertson says.

Orders can be placed online at or people can contact the Sustainability Trust

In the meantime, the team at the Curtain Bank will be inviting their sponsors Genesis, Alsco, Lotteries Grants Board, Nikau Foundation and Wellington Community Trust to join them this week for a big slice of birthday cake to celebrate 10 years of making a positive difference to Wellington families.

Susie Robertson says they are always looking for new sponsors. "The more support the Curtain Bank receives, the more curtains it can prevent going into landfill and rehome to families in need."

Genesis CE Marc England says the company is proud to have supported the Curtain Bank since its inception. "As an energy management company, our vision is to put our customers in control of their energy use and we know, not all New Zealanders live in well insulated, curtained homes.

"We operate with and for our communities and we are committed to doing what we can to give families at risk of experiencing energy poverty a helping hand through our support of the Sustainability Trust’s Curtain Bank. To us, supporting the Curtain Bank just makes sense."

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