Sunday, January 10, 2010

Not Poetry

But a newspaper article about a group I am a member of...Back to Basics...Check us out on

A creative group of mums has come up with a crafty way of seeing off the recession. At a time when many people in communities throughout the world are continuing to struggle to make ends meet, the Back to Basics group of Cromwell, New Zealand, is lighting the way with a bit of retro-innovation.
The brainchild of Anna Grace and Linda Vanden Hoek, Back to Basics has quickly developed into a “sisterhood” of “recession chic frugalistas” looking to share knowledge, learn traditional and new skills, and do a bit of recession busting. The group has been meeting once a month since April 2009, each time focusing on a new activity, such as knitting, sewing, arts and crafts, quilting and gardening.
The group has adopted a self-sufficiency ethos motivated by the desire to stretch the budget a little further. Cost-saving initiatives include bulk buying of foods for distribution among the group, bringing a Swappa Box where members swap household items and clothing, and exchanging services such as babysitting. Rather than a payback system for services to others, the group finds value in “paying it forward”.
Key to the group’s success is recognising that each member brings a unique set of talents. By limiting membership to a dozen or so women, the group has an intimate and friendly focus, creating opportunities for individuals to share their skills with confidence. Members take turns hosting meetings in their own homes.
Back to Basics is rapidly evolving to meet the rich tapestry of ideas already generated within the group. There is more than a hint of “making it up as we go along”, but rather than detracting from the experience this approach is ensuring the benefits are extended into the wider community. Although never intending to have a charitable focus, the women have been quick to spot an opportunity to help others. Through its Nappy Bucket programme the group is looking to provide donated cloth nappies to mums who are referred to them from social agencies.
The Back to Basics model is already attracting interest from farther afield. But rather than diluting the group to bring in new members, the group is keen to share its model and has set up a website for anyone wanting to establish their own group based around similar principles ( And for the future? Although the recession was the catalyst for this group’s formation, one gets the impression they’ll be together many years from now.