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Stitching some warmth back into the community

HAVE you ever wondered what happens to old jeans when they “die”?

But old jeans don’t die – they don’t even just fade away.

Clarence Uniting Church’s Connections Craft and Conversation group has a unique way of up-cycling old jeans to provide benefits to the community – by refurbishing them into blankets for those in need.

Connections Craft and Conversation founder Claire Green said the group was established in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2012 when they began to make the blankets.

“We were lamenting the fact that there were so many homeless people in Tasmania and how awful it would be to be in the cold,” she said.

“We saw the suggestion of using jeans to make blankets in a patchwork book, and we have our own Unicorn Opportunity Shop in Lindisfarne that has more jeans than they can sell, so they offered them to us, which we turn into beautiful new, warm blankets.”

Mrs Green said the blankets were made exclusively to be donated to organisations such as Uniting, Louis’ Van, City Mission and Bridgewater/Gagebrook Mission for distribution to those in need of warmth.

“We have also put the pockets on the back, so they can keep something like a phone or some money safe while they’re sleeping,” she said.

More than 300 blankets had been donated to date.

Mrs Green said the group also made singlets for African babies and decorations for the ABC Giving Tree, as well as scarves, beanies or teddy bears for people that needed it most.

“That’s what we like to do as a church community – we like to help the community in any way we can,” she said.

“We’re just a friendly group that have fun doing what we do, and hope that we are helpful to the community.”

On 13 July between 10am and 2pm, members of the Connections Craft and Conversation group will be holding a Craft Expo to demonstrate the jeans to blankets process.

Other craft items will be on display and there will be an opportunity to make simple, non-plastic produce bags to take home.

Connections Craft and Conversation group is open to the community and meets every Wednesday morning between 10am and noon at the Clarence Uniting Church.

For more information, visit www.clarenceuca.org.au/Programs.html.

Caption: Clarence Uniting Church’s Connections Craft and Conversation group members, from left, Elaine Martin, Margaret Ranson, Margy Lamont, Jan McGrath, Gwen Cracknell and Claire Green.