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Canberra faces crisis

Parents and friends groups have folded and fundraising events inch closer to cancellation as Canberra schools are gripped by a volunteer crisis, The Canberra Times reports.

The ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations’ two most recent annual surveys revealed the greatest challenge facing Canberra parent groups was too few volunteers.

Peak volunteering and parent bodies have joined for the first time to determine what’s holding Canberrans back from getting involved in their local school.

Volunteering and Contact ACT acting general manager Sarah Wilson said the shortage had potentially “huge” ramifications.

“It means sport doesn’t run on the weekends,” she said.

“It means school fetes don’t happen. It means there’s no P&Cs fundraising to provide essential materials in the schools. It means teachers have no supports.”

At one Belconnen primary school, it means the uniform shop has been outsourced and the canteen has had to employ two paid staff.

“Some people were disappointed – me personally, I think it could potentially be an opportunity,” volunteer Meg Holesgrove said.

The ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations surveys found between 20 and 30 per cent of parent groups were unable to fill all committee positions. A further 15 per cent found doing so “very difficult”.

Ms Wilson said time, the increasing formalisation of roles and bureaucratic requirements – like needing a food handling certification to run a fundraising barbecue – could serve as barriers to people putting their hands up.

Those who did volunteer could be spread too thin and become burnt out, she said. Ms Wilson suggested people outside the school community could be better welcomed into different activities.

FULL STORY

Canberra school, parent groups join to solve volunteering crisis (Canberra Times)

Volunteering Survey

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ACT Councils of Parents and Citizens’ Associations