Monday, 6 January 2014

Clubs On The Brink

When civic organisations disband, more is lost than the clubhouse and familiar atmosphere for members –  the community is also weakened. An aging population combined with irregular working hours is sucking the life out of our clubs.

Twenty years ago, Diggers Rest had vibrant, social organisations where people had a great time supporting each other. The Tennis club held the best after game sessions and an enormous Christmas party. The Scout Group consisted of local joeys, cubs, scouts, and venturers. The primary school taught over 200 students. We had many great cricket and football teams. The playgroup and toy library were well run. The Lions Club had over twenty members. The town was buzzing.

A beloved footy volunteer John McMahon (picture from the Melton Leader, 18 Aug 2011)

Most of the clubs have survived due to the friendship from Sunbury volunteers who enjoy the smaller Diggers Rest groups. But almost all of the community clubs are in jeopardy of collapsing.

There are less children than there were. Working conditions and pay have declined - forcing people to work longer hours or irregular shifts.  Many volunteers have retired for various reason without replacements.

If those bad trends continue then several of the clubs will collapse within a few years.

Generally there is a sense that we should, "keep the clubs running until Bloomdale residents move in" but will those new folk have the time or commitment to volunteer?

How will the Bloomdale residents know that the community groups are waiting for them to join when the groups are losing their ability to communicate? Is anyone taking the lead of helping the new residents to integrate?

Will Bloomdale save our clubs in time?

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