Coronavirus lockdowns have worsened declining volunteer numbers with some of the city's organisations saying their resources are being stretched thin amid growing demand for their services.
Councillor Ben Blain said it had been a difficult year for everyone and lockdowns had increased the need and supply for services including meals on wheels by 30 per cent.
He said before lockdown, 314 meals were delivered per week but that figure had jumped to 456 during shutdowns.
With many services forced to cease, council employees were re-deployed from AquaZone, Flagstaff Hill and the Lighthouse Theatre to deliver meals and provide a much-need friendly face to some of the most vulnerable.
Warrnambool and District Food Share's Amanda Hennessy said members from RSL Active had been re-deployed to help drive vans and make emergency food deliveries.
"I rang RSL Active and they immediately put out a call and we got a couple of drivers from them, which is fantastic," she said.
"We have also been calling on our current volunteer bank, but you don't want to do that too often because they're very busy in the warehouse in the morning so asking them to step into the van in the afternoon to do a two-and-a-half drive is not very nice.
"The good news in our area is that volunteering Victoria stats show we have a very high volunteering rate which is good."
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But state-wide, volunteering numbers had been on a declining trajectory.
Reports from the Australian National University's Centre for Social Research Methods noted a 66 per cent decrease in volunteers between February and April 2020.
Of those, people over the age of 65 were the most likely to have ceased volunteering.
Earlier this week Premier Speedway called for volunteer groups to put up their hand for work at the venue this summer.
Warnambool Cemetery Trust chair Sheryl Nicolson said it was difficult to attract younger members.
"Several have been on the Trust for many, many years and will potentially retire in the coming few years," she said.
"Unfortunately it has been difficult to attract interest from community members in becoming a Trust member. For effective succession planning, it is important to recruit new members who come with a fresh set of eyes, new ideas and modern thinking."
Coast Guard captain Allan Wood said the organisation required a constant flow of about six to eight recruits each year with the main draw-card being training, which had been curtailed during lockdowns.
"Joining any volunteer emergency services organisation is very rewarding but very demanding on young peoples time," he said.
"Also young people seem to move their focus quite quickly as they mature and they are geographically more fluid. Our main source of interest and enthusiasm for new recruits is our training, and this has been seriously curtailed due to COVID 19, we are looking forward to getting back on track now."
Warrnambool City Council acting volunteer program coordinator Amanda Kenneally said now was the time for volunteers to re-engage.
"With the road map on track and volunteer programs in the South West up and running there is a real need for people to re-engage or to try something new," she said.
"Many volunteer programs are ready to welcome new faces and expand their services to help the COVID recovery."
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