A local project in Lower Hutt is aiming to reduce stress and anxiety experienced by some children by sewing colourful and fun masks and giving them away.
‘Friendly Face’ re-useable face masks will be free to children in Lower Hutt through a new partnership between Common Unity Aotearoa and Hutt City Council.
The masks will be made on site at Common Unity in Fairfield by volunteers who will hold sewing bees where the bright, colourful and fun masks will be made. Members of the community will also be able to attend free sewing classes so they can learn how to make their own masks.
Hutt City Council is supporting the project through a $1000 grant from the Community Resilience Fund to assist with the cost of materials and community sewing workshops. Council will also purchase some of the masks for staff and for every purchase, a mask will be donated.
Julia Milne from Common Unity Aotearoa says she started to think about the ways they could help when they heard stories of children at local schools feeling anxious about wearing masks. “I’m really pleased that we’ve partnered with Hutt City Council in this way.”
Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says it’s great to see local organisations stepping up in Lower Hutt to ensure people can access face masks.
“As we continue the fight against COVID-19, it’s heartening to see local groups like Common Unity and Team Naenae Trust manufacturing and supplying masks to school children.
“We know a lot of students in Lower Hutt use public transport daily. As Mayor, I’m proud to see these organisations removing barriers to mask ownership, especially as they become compulsory from Monday onwards.”
Council’s Chief Executive Jo Miller says supporting projects like this can help make a positive difference.
“Community and kindness are at the heart of this partnership with Common Unity and with the other local projects like this we’re supporting. We don’t want anyone to be worried about wearing a mask or face covering.
“By supporting this community project we’re helping get the message out that it’s not only safer, but it’s really cool to wear a mask. These masks are fun and I’m sure children will enjoy wearing them.”
Common Unity is also keen to hear from local businesses that have spare new material which could be donated to the project.
“Part of our kaupapa at Common Unity is to do everything we can to reduce waste. If fabric businesses have spare offcuts of suitable material we would be very pleased to hear from them,” says Julia Milne.