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A stitch in time: Armstrong Creek group sews up 1,000 Boomerang Bags

June 21, 2022 BY

City of Greater Geelong councillors Ron Nelson, Bruce Harwood and Belinda Moloney with Armstrong Creek Boomerang Bags members in the Armstrong Creek Community Hub.

A COMMUNITY group in Armstrong Creek has sewn up a major milestone in helping people be more sustainable and protect the environment during their daily shop.

Armstrong Creek Boomerang Bags has put the final stitches into its 1,000th bag and marked the achievement at the Armstrong Creek East Community Hub last week.

Formed in 2017, the group meets for three hours each week in the co-working space at the hub to make the reusable shopping bags from recycled fabric, and started with the original goal of providing two Boomerang Bags to every home in the growing suburb.

City of Greater Geelong councillors Belinda Moloney (left), Ron Nelson (second from right) and Bruce Harwood (right) with Armstrong Creek Boomerang Bags member Sarah Evans.

 

Armstrong Creek Boomerang Bags spokesperson Bernie Little said the group did not meet in person during 2020 or 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the eight members had kept the pile of bags growing by working away at home.

“We’ve been working up in numbers and we’ve made it!

“It’s a milestone, it’s a significant milestone for our small group. Other groups have made 5,000 bags or more.

“I guess 3,217 [the Armstrong Creek postcode] would be a pretty big milestone when we get to that, but it might be a couple of years before we get there.

“But we’re getting better, we’re getting quicker; it’s just exponential.

“When you’re starting from scratch, you’ve got to learn everything, but we’ve got a nice amount of (bag) handles now, we’ve sort of got the screen printing down, the girls know what they’re sewing, and we sew in a process so they go from one one person to another.”

Armstrong Creek Boomerang Bags reached its 1,000-bag target with some help from the City of Greater Geelong, which provided a $2,000 grant through its 2021-22 Community Grants Program to buy three new sewing machines, an iron and an ironing board.

Geelong councillors Bruce Harwood, Belinda Moloney and Ron Nelson visited the hub last week to celebrate the milestone.

City of Greater Geelong councillors Ron Nelson (left), Belinda Moloney (second from right) and Bruce Harwood (right) with Armstrong Creek Boomerang Bags member Sarah Evans (second from left) and the 1,000th bag. Photos: JAMES TAYLOR

 

“These machines have helped, absolutely,” Ms Little said.

“We had second-hand older machines, and they were a bit not so great, but these ones work beautifully.”

She said the group would definitely welcome more members.

“We’d love to see some more people coming in.”

The bags can be given away and returned to a box outside shops (hence the “boomerang” name) or sold cheaply.

Started as a pilot project in Burleigh Heads in 2013 to reduce the amount of single-use plastic, the Boomerang Bags initiative has spread to more than 1,000 communities around the world.

Armstrong Creek Boomerang Bags’ $2,000 grant was among 135 groups supported in the December round of the city’s grants program, with funding ranging from $260 to $10,000 for events such as arts projects, festivals, environmental sustainability initiatives, equipment purchases and community-based projects and events.

For a full list of the city’s community grants and more information on how to apply, head to geelongaustralia.com.au/grants.

For more information on Armstrong Creek Boomerang Bags, phone 0435 584 533 or phone the hub at 46 Central Boulevard on 5272 4732.