Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

Curtain Retrofit Project

During 2015 local community groups SEE-Change, St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn and Canberra Loves 40%, worked together with the ACT Government through the ACTSmart Outreach Energy and Water Efficiency Program, to provide curtains free of charge to people living in disadvantage.

In early 2015 the groups pilot-tested the curtain retrofit program on 5 homes, and the result was a great success.

This project uses a community-based delivery model to improve the energy performance and living conditions of vulnerable people’s houses and not only does it bring the community together in sewing workshops, but by using a combination of existing materials and volunteer support we were able to keep costs to a minimum.

In the first stage of the pilot project windows were measured by Energy Efficiency Outreach Officers who were part of the ACTSmart Outreach Energy and Water Efficiency Program, a workshop was held with volunteers at the Kaleen High School to sew the curtains, and then the curtains were installed by a St Vincent de Paul Society worker.

This project is a wonderful demonstration of the community assisting others in the community to combat social inequality, and it is also a great opportunity for the community to come together in fun sewing workshops to strengthen community connections, and share knowledge and skills.

In October 2015 St Vincent de Paul Society took over the full management of this project and are continuing to conduct workshops.

Would you like to get involved?

There are a number of ways you can get involved in this project:

  1. Volunteer: If you would like to volunteer to help with curtain sewing or installing the curtains, please register. Sewing workshops will be held each fortnight between 10.30am – 2.30pm. Check out the Vinnies Volunteering page for when the next workshop is scheduled.
  2. Participate: If you are a low income household and would like to take advantage of this program by having curtains installed, please contact: The Society of St Vincent de Paul on: 6234 7424

Who can benefit from this program?

You will be eligible to apply to get curtains as part of this program if you meet the following requirements:

  • You require good quality curtains to assist in reducing your energy use and improve your well-being
  • You have existing pelmets or are willing to have pelmets installed
  • You are willing to engage in education around energy efficiency
  • You are a low income household that meets all of the following:
    • The household lives in the ACT.
    • The household is experiencing financial hardship.
    • The household income is under the income limits defined by the Outreach program specifications (income limits are for 2014/15):
      • For a household that does not include a sole parent:
        • $47,289 for the first adult
        • $18,089 for each additional adult
        • $15,685 for each child under 18yrs
      • For a household which includes a sole parent:
        • $49,738 for the first sole parent
        • $18,089 for each additional adult
        • $15,685 for each child under 18yrs
      • Note: Pensioner Concession Card holders are automatically eligible.

This project was kindly supported by funding from the ACT Government and CBB – The Not 4 Profit People.
PrintThe ACTSmart Outreach Energy and Water Efficiency Program offers practical ways for low-income households in the ACT to reduce energy and water bills. A friendly energy efficiency assessor can visit you at home and talk about how you can: reduce your energy and water consumption; save money; improve the comfort of your home


CBB the not4profit people is a social enterprise that exists to enhance the capacity and sustainability of the Not for Profit sector. They do this by providing expert consulting and salary packaging solutions to Australian Not for Profits, and channelling their surplus profits back into the sector through their Community Development Program. They are proud to support the valuable work of SEE-Change. For further information about CBB visit www.cbb.com.au and their YouTube channel


Volunteers measuring curtains from workshop #2, 9 May 2015:

SEE-Change_Curtain Workshop-volunteers adjusting curtains-150509-1-s

SEE-Change_Curtain Workshop-volunteers adjusting curtains-150509-2-s

With thanks to our


  • ACT Government Environment and Planning
  • The Association of Independent Schools of the ACT (AISACT)
  • Catholic Education Office (Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
  • Education and Training Directorate
  • ACT Government