Hackney craft studio to host workshop teaching people to sew clothes for animals injured in Australian wildfires

Brooke Dennis, left and Jen Painter. Picture: Joe Goodman

Brooke Dennis, left and Jen Painter. Picture: Joe Goodman - Credit: Archant

A Hackney craft studio is running free workshops this weekend to teach people how to sew bat-wraps and joey-pouches for animals injured in the Australian wildfires.

Bat wraps and joey pouches. Picture: Brooke Dennis

Bat wraps and joey pouches. Picture: Brooke Dennis - Credit: Archant

Brooke Dennis, 33, owner of make.town in Morning Lane, came up with the idea for the workshop after seeing an appeal from the Animal Rescue Craft Guild online.

The workshop will teach attendees how to make pouches for orphaned joeys, and "bat-wraps" - which simulate mothers' wings and are used to wrap injured and orphaned bats so they feel safe.

Animal Rescue Craft Guild, which has provided the patterns, also has patterns for koala mittens, kitten onesies and wallaby hanging pouches.

Over the course of the workshops, Brooke hopes to make hundreds of items to send to animals sanctuaries in Australia.

The Australian wildfires have lasted two months and are the worst in the country's history, claiming 25 lives and killing millions of animals.

Many charities in Australia are asking for financial support, but for those who don't have the resources this is a great way to support the cause, says Brooke.

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"It's so nice to be able to apply what I can physically and I know there are lots of people out there who feel helpless. This is a way of using our people power."

Brooke runs the store with help from her childhood friend Jen Painter, 34. They went to high school together in Christchurch, which was struck by a magnitute 6.3 earthquake in 2011.

Growing up in New Zealand, they say the realities of climate change were never remote.

"When we were kids there were times a day when we weren't allowed to go outside because the sun was too potent", said Jen.

"Because we grew up being able to see the direct effect of climate change in our back yard it was never a question for us. It wasn't until we came abroad and people were questioning it that we were like 'what!?'.

"I didn't realise that for some people it was a myth."

Brooke and Jen have already thought about how to get the items to the other side of the world without contributing to further environmental damage.

"I've got a couple of offers of people who are going to Australia soon and can hand deliver this stuff which is great and means we are offsetting our carbon flight", said Brooke.

Brooke is asking people to bring old sheets and fabric to make.town from 10am to 4pm on Friday and Saturday. Book a free place here.