Future Directions - Cairns Regional Council

Article image - Future Directions - Cairns Regional Council Lisa Curry launches Go Clubs in Cairns. Clubs are a vital component of every healthy community. They encourage participation, teamwork, friendship, community pride and personal achievement.

But community clubs are subjected to a growing list of challenges, not least of which is attracting and sustaining a strong volunteer base.

Cairns Regional Council (CRC) has recognised the pressures threatening the future of local clubs and responded with the development of an innovative program to provide practical, administrative and financial support to local organisations.

The Go Clubs initiative was launched in November 2013 by Australian swimming legend Lisa Curry and has since received more than 200 registrations.

Though primarily directed at sporting clubs, various other community organisations are also reaping the benefits of the program.

Go Clubs members have access to a suite of online resources and document templates to assist with everything from writing a club constitution, to ongoing successful club management including legislative requirements and financial management.

The aim is to allow club volunteers to spend less time working for their clubs and more time being members.

Club development workshops and grants streams have been delivered via the Go Clubs program to assist with attracting members and volunteers, provision of infrastructure and achieving best practice club management.

The Go Grants program has streamlined the grants process to ensure fair and equitable assessment of funding applications.

A 10-level accreditation program has also been introduced to help clubs comply with various government requirements and to grow their clubs through communication with members and the community.

The accreditation process is designed for ease of use and extensive support is extended to ensure it is not onerous on volunteers.

Cairns Regional Council has long recognised that part of being a liveable city is access to physical activity and healthy social interaction.

Cairns residents are lucky to have such a broad range of sporting and social interests from which to choose.

But lack of volunteers has taken its toll on some clubs.

Through the introduction of Go Clubs, a netball club that had previously folded due to insufficient volunteer support has now been resurrected.

It is hoped that the support offered by Council will strengthen other struggling clubs and allow them to thrive into the future.

A Volunteer Recognition awards program highlights the importance of club volunteers and acts as a special “thank you” to those who go above and beyond in their roles.
One of the unexpected benefits of Go Clubs has been the discovery of several smaller clubs that had not previously been in contact with Council.

This has allowed CRC to engage with these clubs, to support them and make them aware of funding and assistance opportunities.

Presently, the Go Clubs team is seeking local business partners to assist with the delivery of two initiatives within the program, The Greener Buildings Initiative and the Go Clubs Shade and Sun Smart Program.

A partnership has already been established with a local employment agency to match jobseekers to relevant administrative and outdoor duties to provide a
mutual benefit.

Furthermore, the Go Clubs experience will assist Council in policy development and strategic planning relating to sport and recreation.

Still in its early stages, Go Clubs has already demonstrated that there is a genuine role for local government in supporting local clubs and facilitating partnerships between non-profit organisations and the business community.