Posted by Director of Service, Lili Teichman
Imagine the opportunities to grow your club by connecting with more volunteers from across our community through a meaningful, hands-on and convenient project.
Just three weeks in to our new Rotary year, we held our first workshop on hands on volunteering on Saturday 23 July. Leaders of several successful projects shared how ensuring their projects are meaningful, hands on and convenient has helped them connect with more volunteers. Working groups collaborated on various aspects of how to start or adapt a project that more volunteers want to participate in, each led by an expert project lead. Plus, we ran a hands on project in the background, packing over 100 meal kits for families in need.
Our team, sharing their experiences and knowledge comprised of PDG Bronwyn Stephens, from Rotary Brighton North, sharing about the Small comforts from community project which is a multi-club project providing bags of love and hope to clients in the Alfred and Box Hill Hospitals and Forensicare.
We heard from PDG Ross Butterworth, a member of Rotary Caroline Springs, who shared with the 40 participants about Western Emergency Relief Network, a successful homegoods relief agency supported and managed by a number of our district clubs. WERN provides meaningful, hands on volunteering opportunities for volunteers to receive and rehabilitate donated quality homegoods to those who are struggling and in need in our communities. Ross and the team are now looking at being more convenient for volunteers and beneficiaries by opening on Saturdays. 
Our next project lead expert was Ellen Frajman, although not a Rotarian, Ellen is very familiar with Rotary. Ellen was the CEO of the Nourish program which started seven years ago, providing hot meals to those struggling in the St Kilda area. Now unable to continue sit down meals, Nourish provides meal packs weekly for 60+ people who have been impacted by homelessness, struggling with food insecurity and Covid. 
We had the privilege of hearing from Rosemary Johnston from Rotary Chadstone East Malvern, together with PDG Bronwyn share the beautiful journey of Busy Feet. A number of our district clubs, and indeed wider, are involved with this truly heart-warming project to help disabled children experience the joys of physical activity having fun while dancing, gaining greater confidence. While the children are experiencing this physical activity, their carers and parents are able to take a break and debrief together.
IPP Wendy Stirling from Port Philip Rotary shared with us about the Empower project, which provides food staples and clothing to those who are struggling in our communities.
PP Bob Glindemann from Melbourne Rotary, also shared the amazing work being done at Donations in Kind in West Footscray, recovering and repurposing medical, school and other equipment to ship to those in need around the world. 
And our District Rotoract Representative, Elliot Silcock gave us an insight into younger volunteers, their aspirations and how we can bring them aboard by encouraging participation in meaningful, hands-on and convenient projects.
As well as a delicious lunch provided by Rotary E-Club of Melbourne President Saxon Mitchell's No. 1 Events at Malvern Valley Golf Course, some participants had the opportunity to take part in a hands on volunteering project on the day – packing meal kits with nourishing ingredients and instructions which were delivered to Afghan community members in need in Noble Park.
It was a huge success in terms of insights and many valuable takeaways for the participants. With over 3-in-10 adults in our community volunteering, imagine how your club can connect with more of these volunteers with projects that are meaningful, hands on and convenient.
Download workshop resources
Find out more about the simple actions your club can take today