Knitting for the children

CENTRAL Victorian community groups have come together to support the children of East Timor. 

The Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst, in conjunction with Friends of the Bendigo Art Gallery and Radius Disability Services, have put together bundles of knitted rugs, beanies and jumpers to be sent overseas. 

The program, Knitting for East Timor, receives donations from 400 knitters across northern Victorian and southern New South Wales. 

Rotarian and project co-ordinator Patti Cotton said the project had grown significantly over its four-year duration. 

"It grew from 10 knitters," she said. 

"People starting talking about it and now we have people from schools, retirement villages, nursing homes and people who like to knit but need a purpose. 

"I think the advantage of this particular project is it's a Rotary project so we can guarantee the knitting arrives because it's distributed by the (Rotary club) in the villages." 

Ms Cotton, who is also a member of Friends of the Art Gallery, said the group was responsible for sorting and bundling the donations. 

She said the groups would send more than 12,000 items to East Timor this year. 

Any group that can send 12,500 items to children in remote villages in East Timor is (making a difference). - Patti Cotton

"It is all hosted by Radius, so it's one of those really lovely community partnerships," she said. 

Ms Cotton said the project was worthwhile and used a simple skill to bring people together. 

"Any group that can send 12,500 items to children in remote villages in East Timor is (making a difference)," she said. 

"We have CWA people in primary schools teaching children how to knit squares and other people then making them up.

"When you acknowledge a simple skill, it's easy to make something worthwhile." 

Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst acting president Doug Lougoon said East Timor was one of Australia's closest neighbours. 

"Our club has been involved in East Timor for the past five to six years," he said. 

"This is just one of the projects that has come out of it.

"It is a great project and hopefully we will continue with it." 

Community groups band together for worthwhile cause

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