What you won’t see when you sling your Budleigh Bag over your shoulder and go shopping is the hours of fun, laughter and friendship that went into it.
Each stitch, every bag made and carefully sewn, has formed friendships and tackled loneliness while helping to turn the town plastic-free.
These unique bags go on sale today, Wednesday, August 14, at the Budleigh Hub, East Budleigh Road, and if you are lucky enough to own one before they are snapped up, know that your purchase is so much more than a shopping bag.
They have been lovingly made by The Hub craft group to help make Budleigh a plastic-free town.
The reversible handmade bags have been stitched together by a group of craft lovers; many who without The Hub would stay at home without company.
Thanks to the creation of the Budleigh Bag, long-lasting friendships have formed that have continued to blossom beyond the four walls of The Hub.
Judy Robinson, craft group leader, said the aim was to continue making the bags if they proved popular.
She said: “I just love it because I enjoy watching the friendships develop in the group; they all know each other and get together outside. I love that bit of it.
“They were all sitting at home, sewing or knitting. I thought why not come and talk to somebody.
“The conversations they have are lovely; just gentle conversations. There’s a feeling of support.”
Marc Jobson, Budleigh Hub manager, said: “The bag is just a ruse to get people together to make new friends and firm up old friendships.
“It’s about bringing bring people together from different ages, different economic and social groups, with the aim of making new friends; it goes towards our campaign to end loneliness across Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh.”
The handmade bags were inspired by a Surfers Against Sewage campaign to turn towns into plastic-free communities.
You can be a proud owner of one of these bags for a minimum donation of £5, supporting the Budleigh Hub and Age Concern Budleigh.
The fabric swatches have been donated by Jam Interiors and the craft group is keen to hear from anyone who can help with further gifts of material.
They also want to hear from individuals or groups willing to join the Budleigh Bag cottage industry.
If you can sew or pattern cut, the group has put together complete bag-making kits.
Judy said: “Anybody that’s familiar with a sewing machine would do them quite quickly.”
And keen to promote the ethos of the Budleigh Bag, the crafters are extending the hand of friendship to groups and organisations in other towns eager to create their own version of the shopper.
Marc said: “Any groups that might like to help us make more bags, please get in touch.
“Some groups might be from Sidmouth or Honiton. We are quite happy to divulge all our secrets so they can do their own bag.”
- Send us your photos of you with your Budleigh Bag. Email firstname.lastname@example.org