Maeve Leaning

Maeve Leaning.

02-11-2020Shirley Roberts

Relocation means settling down and getting to know a new world. Early day friends show you the ropes and then it is time to fly into your destiny. When Maeve first arrived in Majorca it was to walk and change direction. A big career in the Health Service in Cornwall was wonderfully satisfying. She was part of a ground breaking team of Children’s Occupational Therapists. Wheelchairs and changing children’s lives for the better was her goal. She arrived in the world of Majorca with her husband moving from a career in law to the world of a Mountain Guide. He had the immediate future planned and, as you can’t guide in the Tramuntana without training and registration, that was his mission.

Maeve loved everything about the Soller Valley location and gradually built up friends with local and in some cases global interests. A friend in New Zealand told Maeve of a project she was involved in and that was the start of Boomerang Bags in Majorca. So far, Boomerang Bags are active in around 860 communities globally. Thousands of volunteers have collectively made over 205,603 reusable bags, which equates to around 62,000 kilos of material waste diverted from landfill. The biggest achievements though are the ones that can’t be quantified... the social connections, friendships made, and the conversations held as part of a globally sustainable movement. Currently there is one Boomerang Bag group in Mallorca started by Maeve Leaning. Have a look at the website www.boomerangbags.org for more information.

New friends, such as the indefatigable Rachel Fox, brought her sewing machine and together they began making the prototype bags. The principal in the early days was to to create bags out of unwanted material and give them free in supermarkets. Eliminate plastic shopping bags was their most basic mission. This vision continues to occupy them but the volume of helpers is always the problem. Lovely people meet every week to sew and natter. With the best will in the world they can only produce a few bags a week. New volunteers, with no sewing experience necessary, are always very welcome. They meet in Deixalles Foundation, on the main road between Soller and the Port. Tuesday from 10 am to 12.30 and on Thursday between 4 pm and 6 pm.

Some new arrivals to the Soller Valley found their first friends here. There is nothing like volunteering in a cause you are interested in to make friends. For people who do not live here all the time the welcome is just as warm. The second homers and those here for extended periods can dip in and out as they like. The constant faces are Maeve and Katya who extend the hand of friendship every week.

The sustainable world marches on and more organisations spring up to save the planet in whatever way they can. Maeve and the Boomerang Bags initiative were invited to join the Majorcan Rezero Group. This is a government funded organization formed to preach to all who will listen on the urgent need to reduce waste. Maeve spends time with the group at meetings and lobbying as the targets for reducing waste in the Balearics will not be met by 2021. This date is significant because it was thought that so much could have been achieved by that end date. Sadly, this is not the case and lobbying and activism will continue. Maeve has had a fast whirl into multilingual Majorcan meetings and is making huge progress!

The pandemic changed the focus of the sowers of Soller and bags gave way to mask production as their contribution towards the health service PPE. Masks will occupy some of the sewing time alongside the bags till Christmas. A little fundraising for the sustainable cause is fine in the mask world and also for those who can’t get the bags at their local shops.

Maeve has found her cause in the Soller Valley where she sews sustainable bags as part of a global movement. From a tiny spot on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean the first Boomerang Bags of Spain was born. Humans of Majorca come in all guises and Maeve has found her way to becoming one of them in a very short space of time. We are very glad she is here amongst us contributing to the important sustainable causes.

If you are in Majorca and are interested in starting, joining, sponsoring, donating material or just knowing more, have a chat to Maeve at maeveleaning@gmail.com or Facebook page: Boomerang Bags - Plastic Free Soller Valley.
Happy sewing everyone…

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