In 18 short months the Eureka Mums group has become a critical help for vulnerable people in Ballarat and its surrounds.
Their work giving struggling families supplies for children has been recognised by the state government.
The group, along with St Kilda Mums, and Geelong Mums, has been listed as a finalist for the Premier’s Sustainability Awards, in the community section.
Founder Erin Malone said it was nice getting some recognition, but their satisfaction came from the work.
“It’s fantastic, but not really what we’re about,” she said.
“Our reward really comes from our clients.”
From the beginnings in early 2014 in Ms Malone’s garage, the group now works out of a “250 square foot” space and helps between 30 and 40 families a month with supplies.
She said they were making real differences to some vulnerable people and their families, as well as keeping toys and clothes, and many other things, from going to the tip unnecessarily.
One recent example was a family going through a reunification.
“We just helped a family by giving them two toddler beds and a cot, and all the linen and the clothes they needed, for family reunification,” she said.
“That’s where a child or children have been removed form the family’s care. They then have to prove they can look after their children, and we can help them with the materiel side of things.”
“It means for them overnight stays are going to happen a lot quicker, and the bonding will happen more quickly. And they’ll get to spend more time with the children.”
Ms Malone said just removing the financial pressure of making sure a child is comfortable can make family life much easier for people at risk of or in a state of homelessness.
“For us to help with the material aid, it takes a lot of the stress off, and if they are homeless or dealing with other issues it can help,” she said.
For Ms Malone, who started the group after reading about St Kilda Mums, this means she is involved with case workers from support services in the region helping people going through often complex situations.
The sustainability part of the award comes from their work to ‘recycle, reuse and rehome’ often expensive kids’ supplies.
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville said projects like Eureka Mums made a big difference to Victoria.
“It’s great to see such passionate and inspirational people, dedicated to delivering social, economic and
environmental benefits for Victoria,” she said in a statement.
“We want to see more Victorians leading by example and advocating for a cleaner, healthier environment.”
Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 29 October at the Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne.
This is the 13th edition of the Sustainability Awards.
In the region, Daylesford & Hepburn Mineral Springs Co was listed as a finalist for its ‘eco-keg’.