TWELVE-months-ago a special group of about 20 women got together and started the Fraser Coast Artslink Creative Crafters group.
Contributed by Hervey Bay RSL
The team puts in endless hours of creating for those who need it most including dementia, renal and cancer patients at the Hervey Bay and Maryborough Hospitals and local nursing homes.
The residents and patients are recipients of quilts, blankets, shawls, welcome worms, beanies, and for the dementia patients, big soft bears with a pocket for a heat pack.
Group Leader Annette Kitchener said the look on the recipients’ faces is priceless.
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“When we deliver them, we don’t even have a chance to give them out, they just come up and
“They come with a little pocket for a heat pack and at the end of the day the nurses have to go around and check the pockets because the residents have put a bit of biscuit or sandwich in there,” she said with a laugh.
By the time school starts next year the team will have 400 very popular Handmade Read Bears and 213 Welcome Worms ready to distribute to Year 1 and Prep students at local schools to improve reading skills and parent-child interaction.
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The Read Bears Project is an initiative of the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre.
The bears come with a tag so that the child can personalise their cuddly friend with a name, then take them home and read to them every night of the school term.
They are all made in exactly the same pattern, so the kids all have the same bear.
“We put a little poem that goes with the worm, and we give them to the kids to welcome them to school and being their first day, it’s something they can have to reassure them,” Annette said.
“The bears have improved the kids’ reading by about 80% because they have to read to the bear every night.”
The funds to make all the donated goodies are raised from the group’s stall at the Torquay
Markets and even then, the “reject” bears that were made in different patterns are handed out to children for free.
A Hervey Bay RSL Community Grant of $1,500 has allowed the ladies to continue their charity
work and a donation of some fabric poppies left over from Anzac Day has helped make some
colourful quilts and blankets.
“It costs $300 to make 400 read bears so it’s quite expensive,” Annette said.
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“We need 10 bags of stuffing, and they are $24 a bag so the money from the RSL has gone a
“It’s the first time we have been approved for assistance and we were just delighted.”
To find out more about the group visit www.frasercoastartslink.com.au.
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