AN ageing population is putting pressure on community groups in the Heytesbury region with more volunteers and a new generation of community leaders needed.
Heytesbury District Landcare Network (HDLN) and the Blueprint for Timboon Taskforce are seeking more supporters to fill the void left by retiring long-term volunteers for their own groups and other community organisations.
With half of Timboon’s population aged over 60, they say succession planning is needed to ensure local groups continue to thrive.
Blueprint for Timboon Taskforce chairman David Pope said there was a need for generational change in many local groups.
“We need to create a succession plan and take the pressure off people who have been volunteering for years,” he said.
The taskforce has received $120,000 funding to rejuvenate Timboon’s Railway Park Precinct, but Mr Pope said more volunteers were needed.
He encouraged local residents to enrol in a Leadership Great South Coast program which will expand the knowledge, decision making capacity and leadership ability of emerging leaders.
“The program will make sure people get the support they need and will be equipped to step into leadership roles,” he said.
HDLN Landcare facilitator Geoff Rollinson said that in some instances long-term volunteers were leaving and groups were finding it difficult to replace them.
“I know of one case where a long-term volunteer stepped back from taking the lead and three people were needed to fill her role,” he said.
“The challenge is that the responsibility of leadership roles falls on too few shoulders.
“We understand that people lead busy lives and can’t always commit as much time as they would like to voluntary positions; therefore we need to look at breaking up individual roles and recruiting more people to share the burden.”
Mr Rollinson said the needs varied from group to group.
“Some Landcare groups are in desperate need of new people to take on leadership roles. We need to encourage people to understand the benefits and enjoyment they can get from volunteering.”
Applications for the 2013 Leadership Great South Coast program close on October 26. Visit www.leadershipgreatsouthcoast.org.au for more details.
For more information on HDLN contact Mr Rollinson on 0427 983 755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org