The Irwin family including Robert and Terri of Australia Zoo are ambassadors for the Uniform 4kids program that will be shipping repurposed clothing to remote communities in August.
The Irwin family including Robert and Terri of Australia Zoo are ambassadors for the Uniform 4kids program that will be shipping repurposed clothing to remote communities in August.

Uniform Cooroy kindness all stitched up

They sew with the fabric of caring and now Cooroy's Uniform 4kids has another inspiring case to answer, when it come to compassionate clothing repurposing for needy children.

U4kids founder Yvonne Pattinson, OAM, is putting the trouser legs of old uniforms donated by Australia Zoo staff to good use having her team of women volunteers to stitch up sturdy pencil cases.

And a shipment of these, along with lots of trendy children's clothes made from the cast offs of serving law enforcement and fire and emergency services officers, has found their way to the Solomon Islands thanks to the Australian Federal Police.

Now the kids of one village are wearing big smiles as well as U4kids smart wear and about 100 pencil cases filled with pencils donated by Yvonne's clever Cooroy seamstresses.

"The Australian Federal Police are over in the Solomon Islands training the (local) police," Yvonne said.

"My daughter is actually in the Federal Police that's how I got involved in the first place.

"I was at a conference in Canberra early in the new year for Australian Council of Women and Policing and there was a lady from the Solomon Islands police there.

One of the delighted Solomon Island students Maddie with her very own U4kids pencil case.
One of the delighted Solomon Island students Maddie with her very own U4kids pencil case.

"Out of sheer good luck I'd made pencil cases out of Australia Zoo material … she'd seen them and said that their children would love them and could we do some," she said.

The Cooroy sewers love a good challenge and they doubled the initial request of 50.

"We sourced some pencils and put them in there as well," Yvonne said.

Most of the U4kids clothing is distributed in Australia but occasionally donations are distributed by the AFP and Australian Border Force.

The AFP reported the handover to the kids in Honiara.

"These pencil cases were given as graduation gifts to a class of kindergarten students who will be commencing Grade One soon," the AFP report said.

"They were all very excited to have their very own case to keep their belongings in."

The AFP visit was part of the Solomon Islands Police Development Program's campaign to raise awareness on eliminating violence against women and children.

Uniforms 4kids founder Yvonne Pattinson with Australian Border Force officer Kim Eaton.
Uniforms 4kids founder Yvonne Pattinson with Australian Border Force officer Kim Eaton.

Yvonne said thanks to Australia Zoo and the backing of program ambassadors Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin, a shipment of clothing is in August is headed up to the remote Indigenous communities of far north Queensland.

"One good thing that we've cottoned on to just recently is that we've got a couple of the women's prison's now sewing," she said.

"They've got all the equipment that they could ever need and they sat around never using it.

"Now some of the women in the women's prison are sewing and they are really enjoying it," Yvonne said.

The team also runs up children's outfits for the crisis centre in Cooroy "or anywhere there's a crisis centre".

U4kids has branched out across the Coast but Yvonne said the Cooroy group is the most prolific, running up more that 2000 items of clothing so far this year at the Friday get togethers.

Their productives efforts over the past eight years have saved tonnes of fabric from ending up in landfill.

Anyone interested in assisting with sewing, cutting out, unpicking can contact Yvonne on 0413133791 or look at the website Uniforms4kids.com.au or go to Facebook.