More than 100 Whanganui families have a better chance of living in a warm and dry home thanks to curtain crusader Nelson Lebo and several selfless volunteers.

The Whanganui Curtain Bank gave away 350-plus donated curtains to 81 needy families as well as others being educated about keeping warm this winter.

We had 20 families through in the first hour of opening,” Mr Lebo said. “Overall we gave away 350 curtains in eight days. We are very pleased with that.”

“Everybody deserves to live in a warm and dry home. Apart from non-insulated ceilings the number one source of heat loss in a home is through the windows.”

Mr Lebo said aside from handing out donated curtains the bank’s aims was to impart advice on how to keep homes healthy, such as moisture management and mould prevention.

Mr Lebo said cold and damp homes were a big factor in a number of health complaints, including asthma. Whanganui has the highest number of asthma cases in the country, killing six people in the district each year and hospitalising more than 160.

“One in four Whanganui children are on medication for asthma – the highest rate in the country,” Mr Lebo said. “There is a clear link between housing and poor health.”

Unused curtains from this year’s bank were donated to the Koha Shed and Mr Lebo said he plans to return next year with more trailer-loads of donated curtains.