THE ripple effects of Fonterra's shutdown have widened in Dennington, with community and sporting groups fearing the impacts of the loss of sponsorship from the dairy giant.
Dennington Cricket Club president Mick Howely said the factory closure will be a blow not only to the workers and the farmers, but to community organisations who rely on the funding that Fonterra provides.
"It's really sad, I personally know people who work there who lost their jobs and former cricket players who work there or used to work there," he said.
"When you're standing on the cricket oval the factory is in direct sight, it looms large in the background. It will be a bit of a spectre when it's empty."
The cricket club has recently received a grant of $3000 from Fonterra to improve the oval.
Mr Howley is hopeful that money will still come through to the club.
"We applied for it to make improvements to our oval and found out we had been successful about a month ago.
"I'm confident that we will still get it, we should have it in the next few weeks."
Dennington Football Netball Club secretary Tony Pola said sporting groups like his will struggle without the financial support.
"Even $20 goes a long way, any community organisation fights tooth and nail for every dollar they get," he said.
"It will have an impact, sponsorship dollars are getting harder to obtain because people are more careful with their dollars these days.
"The fact that there's 100 people that won't be working down there is huge, if we ever had a raffle they often purchased them. It means one less avenue to sell a raffle ticket to."
The Dennington Bowls Club was originally set up on Nestle's land when the factory was under their ownership before Fonterra.
"While the land is now owned by the city council, when the club formed in 1965 the land was gifted to us by Nestle and we got a lot of assistance from them," Dennington Bowls Club treasurer Phillip Ross said.
"This will be bad for the Dennington community, it's not only the loss of jobs but a loss to community groups.
"The building an the factory has been an icon in Dennington for so long.
"We just have to hope that another organisation will see fit to purchase the site and continue operation there."
Community not hopeful grants will continue to flow
David Kelson, president of the Dennington Community Association, said he's not confident that sponsorship will keep streaming through from Cobden when the operation relocates there after November.
"I don't think there will be any sponsorship now which is sad," he said.
"Fonterra has been one of our major sponsors for a number of years and it will certainly affect our clubs.
"They were the main sponsor for the Carols by the Merri event for many years, so now we'll have to work out how to cover the loss of that sponsorship.
"Even in terms of raffle tickets sold by employees involved in various clubs, they won't be able to do that any more."
Mr Kelson doesn't think a takeover of the site after Fonterra is likely.
"I think it's unlikely in the current climate, especially in the dairy industry," he said.
"Everyone's very disappointed, it will affect various community groups, not only from a sponsorship point of view but Fonterra have been very good with the old hall near the site, which is used by various community groups.
"That will all have to be discussed with Fonterra."
A Fonterra spokeswoman said the shift from Dennington to Cobden will not affect sponsorship and funding figures.
"Fonterra is proud to support sports and community groups in the areas in which our factories operate and where our farmers work and live," she said.
"Our Fonterra Grass Roots Fund will continue to operate each year, with community and sports groups in the Warrnambool and Dennington area still eligible to apply, but the program will be consolidated with our Cobden site - so instead of applying through our Dennington site, they will apply through Cobden."
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