Community Spirit

Living a sustainable life is made possible when you live in an area that has a strong community focus. I have to say it is one of the things I love about Daylesford as its strength is based on its abundant community spirit.

This was evident on Sunday 20 November when the Community Fair was held at the skate park in town. There was representation from many community groups, schools and businesses who shared their passion and generosity to build a cohesive community with the many locals and visitors to our great town who attended on the day. The sun shone, music sounded and the children played, creating a wonderful ambience that encouraged our community to pull together.

Community Spirit

It was great day with the sun shining and music playing

I was there representing the Plastic Bag Free Daylesford campaign with the wonderful community led committee.

Community Spirit

Plastic Bag Free Daylesford committee members Veronica Baker, Lena Mazza and Jenni Kerr joined by Michael from the Hepburn Wholefoods Collective

We did this with the Hepburn Wholefoods Collective and our local Coles supermarket by our side. Coles provided the community with free fruit and there was not a plastic bag to been seen! This has turned out to be a great affiliation as Coles has their own sustainability targets that include reducing the use of plastic bags and they are fully supportive of our initiative. This will mean that they will support all that we want to do which includes:

  • encouraging the use of reusable bags by enabling us to set up a Boomerang Bag station in the foyer of the supermarket
  • making their cardboard boxes available to customers (so just ask for one when you start your shop rather than when you are at the checkout)
  • placing ‘bring your own bags’ signage in the carpark and building with the aim to stop the free distribution of single use plastic bags in our town.

Already their staff have been trained to put at least 8 items in a plastic bag to reduce the number of bags used. Again, another great example of our community working together.

Community Spirit

Manager of Coles, James Nesci with Deli Manager Cookie handing out free fruit on the day

But what impressed me the most on the day was the group of teenage boys from the Daylesford Secondary College, who off their own bat, had a sausage sizzle to raise funds to revamp the skating facilities at the park. These awesome lads with their funny banter were whipping up a mean sausage in bread because they want to improve the recreational facilities not only for themselves but for the community as a whole. What these adolescent boys demonstrated in their behaviours was what it takes to be a resilient and cohesive community as they were:

  • Taking positive action to improve what has been a long outstanding issue that impacts them;
  • Demonstrating strong leadership skills by stepping up to the challenge rather than being defeated by it; and
  • Taking ownership and demonstrating pride in their community.
Community Spirit

The boys doing their bit to raise funds to improve the skate facilities at the park

We need to commend the boys for their initiative and support them over the coming month as they continue to perfect their sausage cheffing outside Coles each Saturday morning in their quest to raise the funds required to make a change.

A community is made up of lots of different people with varying views, opinions and opportunities. Sustaining such communities is based on ensuring we are:

  • Inclusive;
  • Respect our differences;
  • Enable everyone to have a voice; and
  • Support one another.

It doesn’t always mean we will agree on everything, Plastic Bag Free Daylesford has very strong support but not everyone is on board. That’s ok. We respect their opinion and hope we can still work with them to take them on the journey. A strong community needs to be prepared and equipped to engage in healthy debate to get the best outcomes for all who live in our town.

Congratulations to Fiona Robson and her hard working committee for making the day happen. We look forward to next year’s event!

For those of you who would like to get involved as a committee member of Plastic Bag Free Daylesford or want to contribute by sewing bags, please contact us at plasticbagfreedaylesford@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

Until next time…

Michelle