Knitting for a pawesome cause
Central Coast supporter recognised for Volunteer's Week
Kincumber local Phyl Dutch has spent the past five years knitting teddy bears for an organisation close to her heart. As a member of the Central Coast Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Volunteer Support Group, Phyl has been selling her teddy bears at fundraising stalls to help raise money for the organisation so that more people living with vision impairment can remain active and independent.
"I've always had Labradors, and I just love Guide Dogs. So one day I went up to the ladies at the fundraising stall and asked if I could help," said Phyl.
"I love knitting, so I thought making teddy bears was a great way to do something I love while supporting Guide Dogs at the same time."
Sporting colours of various rugby, soccer and AFL teams, the time and effort Phyl puts into knitting her teddy bears does not go unnoticed by the local community. Beyond fundraising stalls, these handmade teddy bears are also available for purchase at Loo Loo's Coffee Warehouse in Kincumber.
"They're $5 each, with all the money going straight to Guide Dogs. I also make special ballerina teddy bears for girls," said Phyl.
At eighty-eight years old, Phyl has knitted well over one hundred teddy bears to raise much-needed funds for Guide Dogs. The money is used to provide free services to enable people who are blind or vision impaired get around independently, so they can live the life they choose.
The Central Coast Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Volunteer Support Group is currently seeking more volunteers like Phyl to help with their local fundraising activities. The group, which includes a number of people with vision loss who have Guide Dogs, needs volunteers to help prepare and run the fundraising stalls, including preparing raffles, selling tickets and talking to interested community members about the work of Guide Dogs.
There are an estimated 300,000 Australians with uncorrectable vision loss, 100,000 of whom live in NSW and the ACT. These figures are predicted to increase by more than 50% by 2030.
Over the past year, Guide Dogs has responded to almost 300 requests for services from Central Coast residents with vision loss. Services include training in how to safely get around using long canes, Guide Dogs and electronic travel aids, such as talking GPS.
Guide Dogs General Manager Planned Giving, Sally Biles, thanked the Central Coast Support Group for their ongoing support of Guide Dogs.
"With the demand for Guide Dogs increasing due to growing numbers of people having trouble getting around due to vision loss, we're incredibly grateful for the support we receive from our volunteers on the Central Coast," Ms Biles said.
"As we rely heavily on the financial generosity of the community, our volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation."
Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with uncorrectable vision loss, including nine who become blind.