This digital photograph depicts Maroondah City Council employee Penny Moore holding knitted garments that were donated as part of Council's Knit One Warm One project. This project was developed in response to COVID-19 and invited knitters across the Maroondah community in eastern Melbourne - from school aged children to knitters living in aged care settings - to knit warm items such as scarves, beanies, rugs and gloves for community members who were sleeping rough or struggling financially. Penny is pictured sorting and packing items for distribution to various charity organisations. This photograph was taken on 22 July 2020, when the whole of Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire were under Stage 3 Lockdown restrictions due to a rise in locally transmitted COVID-19 cases.
Maroondah City Council's Knit One Warm One project was born out of the larger Be Kind Maroondah campaign. This campaign was modelled on the Be Kind Ballarat campaign and was aimed at encouraging kindness and goodwill in the community during COVID-19, as well as building community resilience, mental health support and neighbourly connection during lockdowns. Over 50 individuals participated in knitting warm items such as scarves and rugs, and these items were then disseminated via not-for-profit charities such as Wellways Australia and the Uniting Crisis and Homelessness Service.
In March 2021 Penny reflected on her experience of working on this project:
'The Knit One Warm One Project provided a creative outlet for people in lockdown. They could engage with the wider community be making handmade gifts for those less fortunate. The recipients were in vulnerable situations or experiencing disadvantage. They were given the opportunity and dignity to select new handmade articles in the colours and design of their choice. For those working within this sector, during the challenges of COVID-19, it reaffirmed our belief in the kindness of strangers and the strength of community.'
Description of Content
Woman surrounded by an array of colourful knitted garments in an office environment. She is holding some of the garments.
Colour digital photograph JPEG format.
This digital photograph is one of three photographs depicting team members from both Maroondah City Council and Wellways Australia working on the Knit One Warm One Project. With the support of the Office of Suburban Development, these photographs have been acquired into the museum's State Collection, providing a lasting reminder of the work of community, Council and not-for-profit organisations during COVID-19.
In particular, these photographs highlight the important role of community-based services and programs such as Knit One Warm One and Pathways to Home, which are just two examples of the many initiatives and programs that emerged across the State of Victoria to support community members through the pandemic. Programs like this, which were focused on small acts of kindness and volunteerism, provided important mental health and community support at a challenging time of lockdown and isolation. Fiona Burridge of Maroondah City Council, who coordinated Knit One Warm One, reflected in March 2020: 'As lockdown continued and we began to look the mental wellbeing of our community, as mental health and loneliness increased, the need for support services and social connections became a more focal point. It was humbling to see the generosity of our community, who were so willing to come together and do what they could to help others in need.'
These photographs also provide an important documentation of the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were significant challenges for community members that were sleeping rough during Victoria's State of Emergency lockdowns and restrictions, with many regular support services cancelled, curtailed or limited to phone services only. Additional collaboration, networking and funding was required to provide emergency relief, and to deliver programs such as Pathways to Home and Knit One Warm One. As Wellways Australia employee Jacinta Fox reflected in March 2020, 'We are very fortunate to have multiple services in the homelessness sector and beyond who work collaboratively to support our community, and the pandemic required even greater collaboration, and highlighted these needs more.'
In addition to these three photographs, an oral history interview, two knitted scarves and a series of photographs taken with resident of the Cherry Grove Retirement Village, Diana Pullin, has also been collected into Museums Victoria's State Collection to document this storyline. These items further explore the role of Maroondah City Council's Knit One Warm One program, as well as Diana Pullin's experience of living in a retirement village setting during COVID-19 and finding comfort and solace in knitting for charity.
Place & Date Depicted
Type of item