Membership call from Karratha service clubs

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Karratha Dampier Lions Club committee members at last year’s FeNaClNG Festival. For the past few years the group has been organising the major Pilbara event with a committee of about 15 people and would like more to join.
Camera IconKarratha Dampier Lions Club committee members at last year’s FeNaClNG Festival. For the past few years the group has been organising the major Pilbara event with a committee of about 15 people and would like more to join. Credit: Margaret Bertling

Two of Karratha’s largest and longest-running service groups are calling for more people to become involved as members to support the continuation of some of the community’s biggest events and fundraising drives.

The Karratha Dampier Lions Club and Rotary Club of Karratha have reported fewer members than needed for their operations this year as volunteer numbers have either stagnated or declined in the past few years.

The Lions Club, which organises major annual Karratha event FeNaClNG each year, is seeking additions to the 16 people currently on its books, some of whom live or work in other parts of WA.

Treasurer Kerry Donohoe said current membership numbers were similar to those seen in recent years but the level of organisation required for FeNaClNG meant the club could do with “about double” the people to help share the workload.

“Lions have been doing (FeNaClNG) for 46 years and have done it from day one, and it’s just gotten bigger,” she said.

“The more we want to do, the more we need people to help.”

“We are restricted in what we can provide by the amount of man hours we can get.”

Rotary’s membership has declined from 40 to only 11 in the space of a few years, and with some of those volunteers tied up with other commitments, the club faces the possibility of closure on the eve of its 40th anniversary if it cannot recruit more.

Previous Rotary fundraising has included donating televisions to Nickol Bay Hospital for patients’ rooms and providing an electric wheelchair to a local boy with a disability but the club’s campaigns are limited by member numbers.

President Robin Vandenberg described the club as being “probably at our lowest ebb” at the moment and said the transience of the region’s population made member retention the main challenge.

“People are just generally busy, time-poor, and have got other things on, and a lot of them have young families — it makes it very hard for people to commit,” he said. “The town has grown over the years and people’s involvement in the community has exponentially grown, so there’s a lot of competition.”

Two other Karratha service groups, Apex Karratha and Soroptimists Karratha and Districts, have both reported slight increases in membership in the past few years, but said they could also always use more people.

Apex secretary Jonathan Bucktrout said especially in a transient area like Karratha, service groups relied on people being willing to pitch in for them to be able to make a significant contribution in the community.

“The more people who are involved with these groups can lessen the work load as there are more people who can assist with planning events or organising fund raisers,” he said.

Soroptimists president Glen Slee encouraged people to consider joining a service group to improve their local community and reap the personal rewards.

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