The special incentive grant of $2,000 has helped the women in the group cement friendships formed in the months following the February 2009 bushfires in Gippsland.
Bronwyn Morrissey, who started the quilting group in May 2009, said the first project the group undertook was a quilt called ‘Stitching Ourselves Together’, which captured memories after the fires.
The group received a Highly Commended award for their first quilt in the Fire Awareness Awards as well.
“After that we felt that it would be good to do something to celebrate the friendships that the group had formed. One of the members designed a quilt that celebrated the talents and interests of the women in the group,” Bronwyn said.
Their latest project is called ‘Birds of a Feather Flock Together’. The $2,000 grant means each of the women can make their own quilt representing what the group means to them.
“We’ve already started work on them and the money is going towards fabric, thread and other quilting materials,” Bronwyn said.
“Without the grant money, many women wouldn’t be able to participate in the group. Some people who participate lost so much in the fires and can’t prioritise spending money on their craft over every day needs.”
In the three years since the bushfires, the motivation behind the ‘Stitch & Chat’ group has changed.
“The support is not really about craft anymore but a vehicle for the group, a reason to meet. It’s also about friendship and mutual support for people in similar situations. The craft is the means of us getting together.
“We’ve forged lifelong friendships – I didn’t know most of those women before the group was formed,” Bronwyn said.
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said now was the perfect time for Victorians to share their hard work and achievements by nominating for the 2012 Fire Awareness Awards, with applications open until 2 October.
“These are a great way to celebrate the people undertaking these projects. For many of them, carrying out these projects is not part of their job. They are volunteers or community groups dedicating their time to improving fire safety, preparedness, response and recovery,” he said.
Other projects that won awards last year included the Weeds to Mulch Program by the Surf Coast Community and Broadford Secondary College and Mitchell Community Recovery Action Group’s work with teenagers in fire zones.
The awards are a collaboration between the state’s three fire agencies – CFA, MFB, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), and the Fire Services Commissioner. Submissions are judged on how successful they are in reducing the number or the effects of fires in Victoria.
The Fire Awareness Awards are sponsored by RACV Insurance which provides the $10,000 RACV Insurance Fire Innovation Grant and contributes to the cost of the Awards presentation event at the RACV Club in Melbourne. The RACV Insurance Award for Excellence is presented to the most outstanding fire project from these categories.
RACV General Manager Insurance, Paul Northey, said RACV had a long history of supporting the Fire Awareness Awards and fire affected communities, and is proud to be associated with this important fire prevention program.
“Fires can have a devastating impact, so groups and individuals who have improved fire safety and awareness within their communities deserve recognition,” Mr Northey said.
Winners will be announced at a presentation evening event on 3 December.
For more information about the 2012 Fire Awareness Awards or to apply, visit www.fireawarenessawards.com.au or email email@example.com
Community Award (8 sub-categories)
Fire Services Award
Media and Communication Award
New & Emerging Technologies
Government and Municipal Award
There are two types of grants on offer; the RACV Insurance Fire Innovation Grant of $10,000 and three Special Incentive Grants each valued at $2,000. The grants are available for new projects that promote fire awareness and safety, or to further develop an existing fire project.