Clubs, sports groups struggle to survive volunteer drought

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Action on track at the Lismore Kart Club track. The club is in danger of folding if volunteers are not found.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Action on track at the Lismore Kart Club track. The club is in danger of folding if volunteers are not found. Cathy Adams

SPORTING clubs and community organisations across the Northern Rivers are experiencing a volunteer drought during National Volunteering Week.

With volunteers contributing an estimated $8 billion to the NSW economy according to Centre For Volunteering New South Wales CEO Gemma Rygate, The Northern Rivers may be getting short-changed.

Lismore Kart Club president Di Smith said the club was in jeopardy of folding if it couldn't attract more volunteer help.

Recently voted the top regional NSW Kart Club, Mrs Smith said the club needs more than a dozen volunteers to continue successfully.

"We are always struggling for volunteers, it is really hard," she said.

"The volunteers that we do have are absolutely awesome, but they are also burning out."

The once 17 strong committee is being held up by just 10 dedicated volunteers, Ms Smith said

"None of the positions are paid and a lot of the people work full-time and put these hours in after work," she said.

"We need two clerks of course and two stewards, that we pay to train so they get some experience."

"There wouldn't be a single club that would say that they've got enough people to adequately manage everything that has to be done within a club in a given year," he said.

"Every day I am talking to club presidents and the like who are just bemoaning the struggles that they have."

Marine Rescue Ballina unit commander John Donoghue said the organisation struggled to attract and retain dedicated volunteers.

"We spend a lot of time and money training people then they lose interest and don't turn up," he said.

"We are very short on radio operators and people to do fundraising for Marine Rescue."

The shortage of volunteers across the region is illustrated on the website, which listed 169 volunteering positions available in Lismore alone yesterday.


  • Lismore Kart Club 0427 237 068
  • Football Far North Coast 6625 1444
  • Marine Rescue Ballina 6681 4700
  • Bangalow Tea Rooms 6687 2183

Topics:  lismore kart club national volunteer week volunteering

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