OVER the last 18 months Ballarat has watched volunteer-run group, Eureka Mums, change the lives of many local families.
Their hard work has been recognised at the recent Premier’s Sustainability Awards Ceremony.
In complete disbelief, Eureka Mums founder Erin Malone said the award came as a shock to the committee of seven.
“It is fantastic to be recognised for what we do which is essentially recycle baby goods,” she said.
Environment, Climate Change and Water Minister Lisa Neville presented St Kilda Mums, Geelong Mums and Eureka Mums with the award for their Recycle, Reuse, Rehome project, where volunteers collect and reuse pre-loved babies and children’s gear and re-distribute to families in need.
In addition to taking home the premier’s top recognition, the three sister groups also took out the community award category.
Talking about the project, Ms Malone said a team of 70 volunteers worked to collect, clean, repair and re-distribute goods to families in need across the region.
“Ultimately what we’re doing is stopping hundreds of goods from going to landfill,” she said.
It’s been a little over 18 months since Ms Malone officially set up Eureka Mums headquarters in her single car garage.
Today the group works from an industrial shed in Sebastopol, where hundreds of donations come and go monthly.
“It had humble beginnings in my single garage and grew exponentially,” she said.
The idea to start the group in Ballarat quickly came to fruition after Ms Malone visited a warehouse in St Kilda where a similar project was going on.
“I walked into the St Kilda warehouse and thought I could run something like this,” she said.
Word quickly spread about the Ballarat mother and her idea to help families in need and before she knew it mothers, grandmothers and others wanting to make a different were putting their hand up to help clean and repair prams, bundle clothing, sort through donations and take on collection and giving shifts.
Currently helping 40 families each month, the group’s committee expects the numbers to treble over the next 12-18 months as the number of families in need increase.
To help cover the $17,000 annual operational costs, the group is currently setting up a pledge fund and have asked the community to jump on board.
In the meantime, the group will hold a special trivia night at the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club on November 20 from 6.30pm.
Tickets are $20, or $200 for a table of 10. To book a ticket or for more information visit www.eurekamums.org