One of the ongoing issues for the Eastern Volunteers Resource Centre (EVRC) has been the need for a new community premises to cater for the ongoing growth of the organisation. The EVRC provides volunteer assistance and community transport and also serves as a critical conduit for the encouragement and recruiting of volunteers within Maroondah, as well as Whitehorse and the Yarra Ranges.
The Maroondah Journal has reported on the dire need of a new community premises for the Eastern Volunteers Resource Centre:
Cr Alex Makin said it was council’s responsibility to step in and help the centre.
The EVRC has outreach offices in Box Hill and Lilydale with its the main office located within Ringwood, providing a truly community based asset to Maroondah. Due to a lack of space, the EVRC recently relocated from Maroondah Federation Estate to commercial premises in New Street, Ringwood. While this has provided ample space for the organisation, the payment of commercial rental rates has placed a significant strain on the not-for-profit organisation.
“This is one instance where the council really needs to assist. The council is not under a firm obligation to do so, but in order to help them remain in the area, we need to help”.
I discussed the need for assistance from council at the recent EVRC AGM, where I stated:
I personally believe there needs to be collaboration between EVRC and Maroondah in finding suitable long-term office accommodation for the organisation. I believe that the role EVRC undertakes in encouraging volunteerism and providing recruitment and referral services is critical to ensuring a vibrant and healthy community.
While it could be argued that EVRC should undertake this effort on its own, if EVRC was not active within Maroondah then ultimately the burden of finding, training and nuturing volunteers would fall on council and would obviously place a further burden directly on Maroondah in terms of costs and resources. It would also mean more than likely less volunteers overall, therefore placing further stress on the current pool of committed volunteers.
Encouraging volunteers helps create a more engaged and stronger community and as such Maroondah is fortunate to have the main offices of the EVRC located within its municipal boundaries. Maroondah Council would potentially face a significant burden, in terms of recruiting volunteers and service delivery, if organisations such as the EVRC did not exist or were not actively present within Maroondah.