Fremantle Family Violence team 'in the hoop'

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police koala bears

A donation of police koala bears and hand puppets to the Fremantle Family Violence Team took place last week thanks to the generosity of local resident Lee Grainger.

In her spare time Lee designs soft toys which are made using ‘In the Hoop’ (ITH) embroidery. ITH is the term for digital sewing patterns which stitch themselves on an embroidery machine. The technique allows anyone with the right equipment to achieve a professional looking result.

Lee said she has ‘testers’ all around the world who run the digital files she creates to ensure there are no glitches before she uploads them to her website.

“The emergency services bears and puppets began with the Victorian bushfires in 2009 when some of my Eastern States testers asked if I could create a fireman bear,” she said.

“In the first couple of hours after this design became available there were 6,000 downloads and I’ve since created designs for all emergency service workers – including police.”

Lee doesn’t take orders for the bears – she simply designs the patterns - but during the testing phase a number are created which she is happy to donate.

“If I have leftover material from other projects I’ll also make extra to donate myself,” she added.

Fremantle District Family Violence Team Coordinator, Sergeant Brad Cooper said the soft toys are very much appreciated.

“Having items which distract and comfort children at what can be a traumatic time in their lives is fantastic for us,” he said.

“The police theme to the toys is also great because it assists us in building positive relationships when we attend a family violence incident and reinforces the message that we’re there to help.”

Lee estimates over the last couple of months, she has donated around 500 soft toys to various organisations across Australia and overseas and anyone interested in learning more about the designs she creates can visit her website.