CRAFTY care home residents have been making “joey pouches” for baby animals who have lost their mothers in the Australian bushfires.
Four residents at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, on Randolph Street, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, have sewed dozens of multicoloured pouches for the relief effort.
Around one billion animals have died so far in the wildfires, which have scorched an estimated 10 million hectares of bush, forest and parks across Australia.
Many young marsupials, including kangaroos and koalas, have been left without their mothers to care for them. The joeys usually stay in their mothers’ pouches for six to eight months before they are ready to leave.
Residents at Hazelgrove Court responded to an appeal for surrogate pouches from Roseberry Funeral Directors, in Marske, who have already shipped them to Australia.
The owners of the funeral service have relatives living in Australia who had asked for help looking after injured baby animals.
Joyce Tibbett, Joyce Baxtrum, Dot Pailing and Peggy Bland all picked up their sewing needles and got to work to support the appeal.
Joyce said: “It was so sad to see all the little animals injured by the fires in Australia. It’s nice to think that the pouches we’ve made will help them.”
Alongside the pouches, residents and staff at the home have decided to adopt a koala bear who has been injured in the fires.
Animal sanctuaries across the country have been appealing for financial donations to help care for the animals, so staff and relatives are taking part in a lucky numbers fundraising card to raise the money.
Residents chose a koala named SES Maree, who is being cared for at Port Stephens Koalas, in the New South Wales region of Australia.
Sharon Lewis, activities coordinator at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, said: “The residents and staff read about the bushfires in the newspapers and saw the devastation on the television and everyone wanted to do something to help.
“It can be frustrating seeing such tragedy on the other side of the world and not being able to do anything to help those affected so, when we heard about the appeal from Roseberry Funeral Directors, the residents pulled together and started sewing.
“We also wanted to directly support one of the animals hurt by the fires so we decided to adopt a koala and we’re currently fundraising for the sanctuary where she’s being cared for so they can afford everything they need to nurse her back to health.”