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​Offenders’ donations warm hearts and heads

Publication date: Thursday 5 July 2018

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Offenders are warming the hearts and heads of the Dubbo community, knitting beanies for premature babies and blankets for the homeless as part of their community-service knitting group.

Geraldine Tosh (L) receiving blankets from Christine Shuttleworth (R) - Courtesy CSNSWThe group of 13 offenders on community service orders have donated more than 150 items to those in need this winter, including patchwork blankets, hand warmers, toys and beanies.

Dubbo Community Service Organiser Christine Shuttleworth said the program benefits the recipients and the offenders.

“These items represent a small measure of kindness and comfort for people who are at their most stressed and vulnerable, whether they’re in a women’s refuge or the neonatal intensive care unit,” Ms Shuttleworth said.

“This program not only provides offenders with a new skill, it develops their social conscience and gives them some pride to know they can make a difference to peoples’ lives in this way.”

The knitting group was established by Dubbo Community Corrections in 2013 to allow offenders who are unable to perform physical work to fulfil their Community Service Order on light duties.

Since then, offenders have used looms to knit hundreds of items for community and not-for-profit organisations including Orana Support, Emmanuel Care, a neonatal intensive care unit, as well as Narromine and Trangie aged care facilities.

Orana Support Manager Tracey Drady said the donations can lift someone’s spirits when they’re facing hardship.

“People often come to us with nothing – they might’ve lost their home or might be fleeing domestic violence – and so something as simple as a blanket in a care package can be a great comfort to them,” Ms Drady said.

Emmanuel Care Manager Geraldine Tosh said she had witnessed that difference first-hand.

“We recently gave a blanket and food parcel to a young couple who were living out of their car and they were really touched to know someone had taken care to make it for them,” Ms Tosh said.

Please contact Dubbo Community Corrections on 02 6883 5000 if you would like to donate wool or crocheted squares.

Community Service Orders divert offenders from full-time custody while allowing them to give back to the community by helping organisations put together sample bags for events, folding brochures and other physical work such as grounds maintenance and graffiti removal.

Dubbo Community Service knitting group - offender knitting blanket - Courtesy CSNSW