Warrnambool Community Garden is at heart a member-based organisation. However we also have a range of avenues for non-members to volunteer and enjoy activities on site, and whose contributions are greatly valued. In actual fact the maintenance and development of the site could not have occurred the way it has without the contributions of non-member volunteers over the years.
We have a volunteer coordinator to ensure a good match between prospective volunteers and activities they might engage in. They are also supported by formal induction processes (for regular volunteers) and member leadership and guidance in activities.
Some volunteers join us for one-off activities or a short series of them. Others are with us for an extended period of time. Many people who come along as volunteers end up becoming members.
Some of the ways that people come along as volunteers include:
Come and Try:
Anyone is welcome to come along to activities to just experience what we do and how people interact, often as part of deciding whether to join or not. Some of the activities that work well for this include our 1st and 3rd Saturday mornings, and our weekly activities with the Herb Group (Tuesday mornings), Wednesdays and the site manager's days (see our current newsletter elsewhere on this site). Just rock up on any of these days as ask anyone for the day's organiser.
The "come and try" concept often extends to members bringing along friends who have expressed an interest in the Garden. This is a great way to get a feel for the place as there is someone to explain things and do introductions.
Sometimes we run projects or activities that we think may be of interest to the general public. We advertise these to members and the public, and often have a vibrant and interesting group of members and volunteers coming along to help as a result.
Musicians playing at events including the summer market.
Events like the planting days on the quarry walls in 2020-21.
Centrelink Based Volunteering:
We have some capacity for so-called “mutual obligation” volunteers working on the same days as the site manager. Their contribution to much of our current operations is huge, and we value them greatly. Most would be members if they could, but you cannot do this type of volunteering at an organisation where you are a member.
Historically much of our older infrastructure was built with a large input from work for the dole participants – a Centrelink administered program.
Some large organisations have incentives for their employees to contribute to the community. Sometimes this is as individuals and sometimes as teams. With a site as large and as busy as WCG there are always projects that can be undertaken by organisational volunteers.
At any given time there are usually a number of ways that volunteers in any of the categories above can get involved at WCG.
Gardening and grounds maintenance in all their varied forms are always available. Guidance can be given for one-off volunteering. People wishing to volunteer over an extended period will get to do lots of different things over time.
At the time this article was written there were also opportunities available in the following areas for people with appropriate skills and/or interest:
Photography. Photographing activities but also nature and artistic photography on the site.
Website update and maintenance. Working with the convenor to update our website and maybe tidy up some of its rough edges.