Teddy bears made from old clothes to bring joy

Geraldton Guardian - - News - Leti­tia Bus­niak

A lo­cal ser­vice group will be able to bring a smile to the faces of Ger­ald­ton chil­dren in the new year thanks to the do­na­tion of sev­eral toys made from up­cy­cled uni­forms.

Arc In­fra­struc­ture trans­formed one tonne of old uni­forms into hun­dreds of teddy bears, which were then handed out to char­i­ties and or­gan­i­sa­tions across the State.

When the com­pany of­fi­cially changed its name from Brook­field Rail to Arc In­fra­struc­ture in July, al­most 1000kg of ob­so­lete branded uni­forms were des­tined for the dust­bin.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion chan­nelled some cre­ativ­ity and part­nered with LOOP Aus­tralia to gather the uni­forms, with Arc of­fi­cers set­ting up col­lec­tion bins all the way from Peren­jori to Al­bany.

With LOOP’s as­sis­tance, the old shirts, skirts, pants and jack­ets were dis­patched to com­mu­ni­ty­based seam­stresses who worked for five months to turn each item into a Rail­way Teddy Bear.

The soft toys have now been de­liv­ered across the State, with sev­eral handed over to Desert Blue Con­nect in Ger­ald­ton.

The lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vides sev­eral ser­vices, in­clud­ing women’s health, fam­ily vi­o­lence re­sponse, cri­sis ac­com­mo­da­tion for women and chil­dren, and pri­mary pre­ven­tion. Dessert Blue Con­nect chief ex­ec­u­tive Al­i­son Adam said the toys would all find good homes.

“They will all be re­homed to peo­ple who need them most,” she said.

“We have a num­ber of chil­dren who come through our ser­vices so it’ll be fan­tas­tic to keep some in the of­fices and at Chrysalis House and as the year pro­gresses we can hand them out.

“They’re beau­ti­ful lit­tle presents.”

In to­tal 390 toy bears were pro­duced, with Arc In­fra­struc­ture also con­tribut­ing $10,000 to help fund an up­skilling pro­gram to in­crease the sew­ing and hab­er­dash­ery skills of the seam­stresses who as­sisted with the project.

Arc In­fra­struc­ture chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Larsen said the pos­i­tive re­sults of the up­cy­cling project were tes­ta­ment to what could be achieved when cre­ative ideas were con­nected with op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­liver real and mean­ing­ful out­comes.

“We’re work­ing with groups like Desert Blue through­out the State but have come to ad­mire what they do in Ger­ald­ton very much,” he said. “We wanted to help out in a small way and recog­nis­ing that this time of year there is usu­ally a high de­mand of re­sources for fam­i­lies, we pro­vided them with as many bears as they could take so they could be dis­trib­uted to fam­i­lies who need them most.”

Pic­ture: Arc In­fra­struc­ture

Arc In­fra­struc­ture re­gional lead Garry Bird hands teddy bears over to Desert Blue Con­nect chief ex­ec­u­tive Al­li­son Adam.

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