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December 2023 Newsletter

This month's banner is inspired by Christmas.






Welcome one and all!

What a fantastic month we have just had. November certainly saw the centre humming with activity and without fail, the quality of the work being produced continues to improve immensely.

Mates 4 Mates came in and conducted another 1-day class with everyone having a great time and going home with some wonderful creations. It is great to see how each person tackled the same projects from different angles. Well done to you all, it is always a great day spent with the M4M guys.

We also ran our first Sam Browne belt class for half a dozen current serving Army officers. To say that I was a little nervous about the whole affair, was putting it mildly. Anyone who knows what a Sam Browne belt is, as well as the pressures of military parade uniform standards, would fully understand the need to ensure that the belts created were of an exceptional quality. Thanks to my entire team of staff, this end state was achieved with the results far outweighing my own expectations. The participants made their belts from scratch, and with the expert tutelage from the leather instructors, they all went home with parade standard equipment. We certainly look forward to conducting more of these classes next year.

From a personal perspective, over the last couple of months, I have seen my team step up to a whole new level of professionalism and cohesion. The individual skill sets they all bring to the table have elevated Bootstraps’ capability 10-fold, and for that I am extremely thankful. Paul, Dan, Callum, Andrew, and Annette, I truly thank you all for helping Bootstraps to become who we are.

To everyone else, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2024. Be safe, and we look forward to seeing you all back next year.

- Sam Kavanagh, CEO Bootstraps



A great deal of work has been going on in the background to ensure that we are in a better position than we were during the preparations that were postponed last year. Joining the staff for this project is Rachel from My Precious Events, who brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience planning and running events with her team.

Even though we are still 4 months out from the event on Saturday 13th April (save the date!), we have already secured sponsors, guest speakers, the band, and much more.

We do still need more sponsors, so please help us by getting the word out to people within your network that could benefit from the exposure this fantastic event will bring. The sponsorship document we have produced explains more about the event.

For those wanting the experience of dressing up, enjoying a meal & drinks package, topped off with raffles, auctions and dancing, then tickets will be available very soon; keep an eye out on our social media channels!




It's always a pleasure to host an event on behalf of our fellow ex-service organisations (ESOs), last month it was for Mates4Mates. Having a group of Veterans and family members come together in our centre, connecting with each other, learning new skills, and having fun is essentially our raison d’être.

Our instructors taught the group the basics skills required to produce belts, card holders and keyrings; they also had the opportunity to put their own design flair into the pieces, tooling, stamping and staining to creating a personal touch.

The results were amazing, and i think some of them surprised themselves at what they were able to create.

Thanks guys, we look forward to having you in our centre again

to create your own leatherwork projects.


We were contacted by a group of Reserve Officers who wanted to make their own Sam Browne belts for their parade uniform. We had some reservations because this would involve teaching something new to ourselves, to a group of novice leatherworkers, and in the one day.

However, with a good dose of the 6 Ps (Prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance) from the staff, coupled with the Officers' tenacity, they were able to produce parade-ready belts that would stand up to the scrutiny of even the toughest Regimental Sergeant Major.

This special one-day class was brilliant for us as staff, the planning and delivery of this parade-quality production class stretched us; it was definitely an experience!

Word also gets around quickly, as we are already booked in for another class in the New Year!

Thanks guys, we hope you enjoy showing off your belts on parade,

and wish you all the best in your future careers.



We continue to show what we get up to on social media; if you haven't already, comment on our posts. We'd love to hear about the type of content that you want to see - so let us know!

Stay up to date with the latest at Bootstraps; be sure to like and follow us on socials.

Linktree is a one-stop-shop that signposts to all our socials, 500 Club members, and other important agencies. Click the banner or snap the QR code to try it today!



We are always looking to expand our network within the Lockyer, and the wider Veteran and Leatherwork communities.

If you know of anyone within your personal or professional networks that would like to help us, or could use our services, then please introduce us. Feel free to drop into the centre.



Our centre of operations, located in Gatton, Queensland, is open to all current and ex-military personnel,

and the local community, to drop in.

The centre is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00am - 4:00pm.

"Feel free to drop by to say hello and introduce yourself!"


Please be aware that we will be closing the centre so our staff and volunteers can have a well-earned break.

Wed 13th Dec 2023 0900-1600 hrs

Fri 15th Dec 2023 0900-1600 hrs

(Closedown after business hours)


Wed 17th Jan 2024 0900-1600 hrs

Business calls and emails will still be taken

until Fri 22nd Dec, and from Mon 8th Jan



Annette is the unsung hero of Bootstraps.

While the centre is at the sharp end, focussing on the leatherwork side of things, Annette can be found back at HQ tirelessly cracking on with all of the admin that keeps the wheels turning.

With over 30 years' experience as a paralegal, we can be sure that the finance, legal and admin tasks are being squared away.

Annette is also no stranger to the leatherwork either, her submissions won awards at the Gatton show this year!

An important role she plays is that of bringing the team down to earth each time they hatch another cunning plan; the 20 years spent as an ADF spouse to CEO Sam has prepared her well for the craziness!

We are always welcoming new faces to volunteer their time, experience and skills. Without the tireless support of our volunteers, keeping Bootstraps going would be impossible. Regardless of your background or skillsets, every one of us can help to play a part. It doesn't need to be huge, it could be only a few hours a week through to a few days a week - really every little bit helps.

If you're in a position to offer some voluntary assistance to our organisation, then please reach out to us today by contacting us by phone 0480 239 994, or email

Also if you are in a position to assist us through monetary donations of any value, please visit our website and follow the link to:



For some of us, we're not ready to talk, as it means saying things out aloud reminds us of the issue; it may, however, be more comfortable to text how we're feeling.

As the classic song by Cold Chisel says "When the war is over, it's time to start again!" But for some of us that war internally is ongoing.

Here at Bootstraps we have all been in that situation and know what it feels like. Please remember if you need to talk you can drop in to our centre and say G'Day to some like minded folk

But for those other times, when you feel this way, know that there is support available via text on 0477 13 11 14 through Lifeline Text. They also have a live message service on their website, and a phone line 13 11 14.

This is a service openly available 24/7, and ran by Lifeline.

You can text them anything that's on your mind - no matter how overwhelming, they are there to listen. Just know, that there is someone there when you're ready!

Please feel free to share with your friends, families and colleagues!

Remember there is always someone willing to listen!


500 CLUB:

We are always so proud to promote all of our 500 Club Members that proudly support us!

The last few months, and now the last year, have been really difficult for many businesses and we want to take a moment to acknowledge the continued support of all of our 500 Club members. Despite their own struggles, our valued partners have stuck with us through their dedicated support. Please make sure that you support them however you can!

Every News Leather, we aim to showcase a new 500 Club member to thank them for their support, but also to let you know about the legends that support us!

This month we acknowledge RDO Equipment Australia.

David and the team at RDO Equipment in Gatton helped us out by having a workplace whip round and donated over $2000 to our charity.

Not only are they one of the world's most trusted John Deere and Vermeer equipment dealers, these guys are also all about supporting the local community.

Check out their site to discover what they can do for you. RDO have several locations in SE QLD alone, with many more up and down the coast.

Bootstraps is really proud to have its many supporters onboard as 500 Club members.

But to keep the centre marching along we're always looking for more businesses to become 500 Club members! If you too would like find out what's in it for your business, learn a bit more and show your support for our work, click below to discover how you can become a 500 CLUB MEMBER!

We even have our own hashtag, #500club; search for it on social media to find out the amazing things our members are doing.



They say that laughter is the best medicine... so here's you dose of giggles for this month's News Leather!


Each month we like to feature a Veteran owned business or place where veterans, their families and friends can spend time and enjoy life.

If you have, or know of a business or place, why not let us know so we can feature them here!



Here's the pick of the bunch from the custom projects that the team have been working on this month.

First up shows the templates we made, using the LASER, for the Sam Browne belt class; having the LASER and being able to design and produce these templates made the Sam Browne production so much easier for our Officers.

The other three pictures are all from the same project, again using the LASER; we found a design of card holder within a phone case that we really liked and thought we'd set about reproducing it within the Lightburn software used for the LASER. The final picture shows the accuracy that we can reproduce at. Look out for the finished item of this project in the next newsletter.

So, as you can see, the LASER got a bit of a work out last month; we intend to keep pushing our capabilities with the LASER and will show you more exciting projects in the coming months.

We always welcome new faces to the centre, as well as familiar ones. If you'd like to create a unique leather piece yourself, why not visit our centre today, or contact us about class times; better still, why not take home an exclusive piece of leatherwork from our many items for sale in our display!


We look forward to bringing you more in next month's News-Leather. But in the meantime, be sure to Like and Follow us on our socials to keep up to date with what's happening with Bootstraps!

We'd really love to hear what projects you'd like to do!

Go to our Linktree to submit an expression of interest for our classes, or a custom project.

Satchel, Handbag, Photo Album, Rifle Case, Tool Case,

Binoculars Case, or perhaps something more unique!

Remember to leave us your feedback or a comment on what you would like to make at our centre or have covered in future edition of our News-Leathers!

Thank you again to our 500 Club members - click the logos to visit their websites

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