SEW SPECIAL: Uniform 4 Kids founder Yvonne Pattison and her volunteer helpers are making a real difference from their Cooroy CWA sewing workshop.
SEW SPECIAL: Uniform 4 Kids founder Yvonne Pattison and her volunteer helpers are making a real difference from their Cooroy CWA sewing workshop. Peter Gardiner

Just a uniform cut above for kids

QUEENSLAND Police Service, Australian Federal Police, Border Force officers, firefighters and even workers at Australia Zoo are giving the shirts off their backs to help young people at risk from poverty and the scourge of domestic violence.

These used uniforms are then donated to Brighter Future 4 Kids, which hands them over to its talented fashion transformers in its Uniforms 4 Kids section, formed and run by Cooroy's Yvonne Pattison.

These volunteer designers, seamstresses, sewers and cutters then tailor these cast-offs into beautifully made outfits that would be right at home in any kid's boutique.

Senior Sergeant Kim Cavell, who heads up Sunshine Coast District Vulnerable Persons Unit, and Sergeant Mal Scott visited the Cooroy team and thanked them for their mighty efforts during a social get-together at the Cooroy CWA Hall in MapleSt.

In recent weeks the foundation's volunteer sewers have increased their efforts to supply clothing for the Vulnerable Persons Unit as part of a special push in recent weeks to address domestic and family violence in our community.

Ms Pattison said since starting up four or five years ago they had made more than 4500 pieces of clothing, all sewn together with love and compassion.

She said the batch of uniforms they were presently working on came from the AFP and QPS.

"We do a lot for Border Force up in Cairns,” MsPattison said.

"At the moment we're doing a lot for the crisis centre on the Sunshine Coast - I gave a load to Mal Scott a couple of weeks ago.

"The whole idea for it, when it started, was not to clothe poor children particularly, it was to bridge the gap between the police and the communities.

"And it has worked, particularly well. They (police) can say, 'Hey look, this was my shirt and now it's a little dress for you.'”

Uniforms 4 Kids started when Ms Pattison wanted to do something with the old uniforms of her police officer daughter,, Debbie Platz, who is now an assistant commissioner in the AFP.

"I had all her old uniforms I used to cut down for kindergartens for dress-ups,” she said.

"One day I knew someone who was going over to work in one of the orphanages overseas and I said I'd make her some clothes (for the children).

"I went to the cupboard and I saw these uniforms and I said I should make something out of those.”

Ms Pattison said her daughter loved the idea and "it snowballed from there”.

"She was in the Queensland police force then and she said to everyone, 'Send your uniforms down and Mum will sew them up,'” she said.

She said they now had about 70 sewers all over the Sunshine Coast, with 22 based in Cooroy as they gather every week.

"It's just amazing what you get out of it when you make a little outfit, it's really a thrill,” she said.

"I actually did go up to Cairns a few months ago to Yarrabah State School when they distributed over 100 items and it was really nice to see all the kids excited to get new outfits.”

Brighter Future 4 Kids chief executive Pauline Preston founded the foundation after noticing the need in just one school child.

They provide shoes and socks to schools at cost, with the support of BATA shoes, delivery group StarTrack and Underworks Socks.


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