Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
The Callignee Community Hall is now benefitting from the installation of a number of cupboards that have improved the overall utility of the available storage space in the Callignee Hall, thanks to a dedicated and determined group of women.
The Callignee Stitch & Chat group was formed in May 2009 as a response to a need for community groups to provide opportunities for local women to gather together after the bushfires. It created a socially and emotionally supportive environment where women could share experiences while participating in craftwork. Stitch & Chat now has a day group with 18 regular attendees and an evening group with 10, and numbers are still increasing.
Stitch & Chat also functions as a forwarding service for items of community interest, government and other assistance programs, and other items of interest to the community. It is a conduit for discussion of local issues and for providing feedback to government authorities. Another craft group concentrating on card making has also grown from the group. At the present time the group is run by a Volunteer Coordinator and plans to become incorporated in the next 12 months to ensure its sustainability.
A Victorian Bushfire Regional Donation Account was set up in 2009 by Rotary International using FRRR’s DGR status, and funding of $5000 was granted to the Callignee Community Hall Committee Inc in May 2012 to support the Callignee Stitch & Chat group to purchase five two-door and one single door freestanding cupboard units and multiple storage containers. The cupboards have shelving and divisions that have allowed the group to organise their equipment, which they have worked together to sort, categorise and label to ensure it is now easily located and neatly stored. Their equipment, which includes books, magazines, patterns, patchwork and embroidery supplies, sewing machines and overlockers, was previously stored in a communal area in 50 litre plastic tubs stacked five high, creating quite a safety hazard.
With materials now sorted and readily accessible, the group has increased productivity and successfully completed a number of community projects including:
- 12 quilts for donation to charity and support groups;
- 12 knitted shawls donated to aged care facilities in the region;
- 20 knitted beanies for inclusion in Police ‘comfort bags’ for presentation to children who have been removed from their family environment for various reasons;
- 13 patchwork bags presented to victims of the Queensland floods; and
- Work is underway on oven mitts for the victims of the Tasmanian fires.
With their materials and equipment organised and easily accessible, the group can now focus on their crafty productivity.