Work for the dole program transforming Footscray

by admin

Footscray Park Bowling Club has undergone a transformation thanks to a partnership with Centrelink and the efforts by volunteers from the Work for the Dole Program. 

Walking into the Footscray Park Bowling Club some five years ago initial impressions would have been distinctively different to those you get today. 

The clubhouse looked and felt very tired in terms of appearance and the club’s grounds were quite sizable and required significant maintenance. 

The clubhouse was also in need of repairs and some tender loving care; however as with many bowling clubs these days, volunteers had virtually whittled down to nothing, meaning the constant up-keep that is required to keep the place looking fresh and appealing wasn’t happening.

For Footscray Park, a lifeline was presented through club Secretary Nikolai Grigorovitch who jumped at an opportunity to partner with Centrelink who were offering to provide job-seekers needing to fulfil their weekly requirements under the Federal Governments Work for the Dole Program. 

The program places eligible job-seekers in voluntary situations that enable them to gain practical work experience at non-for-profit organisations like bowling clubs, helping them learn new skills and improving their chances of finding a job.

The program commenced under the guidance of a former member Mick Hayes who would allocate daily tasks to the two regular job-seekers who would turn up and assist the club with their weekly maintenance, thus reducing the workload of their club volunteers. 

Today, through a partnership with Kangan TAFE and AIMS, the program has up to 50 job-seekers, each with an allotted 20 hours a week to help keep the club in pristine condition.

David George, who now oversees the workforce at Footscray Park, is enthusiastic about the merits of the program. 

“Not only are we receiving the support we need, but so are the job-seekers,” George said.  

“We believe we are providing them with the skills and experience they need, which in turn helps them progress not only in life, but in securing their desired job.” 

“I know we are doing our part to help them and it makes me proud that we can play a part in their future life endeavours.”

The real benefit of the program is not just that the club is kept in good shape, but the relationships developed and the benefits for the job-seekers; their sense of achievement, self-worth, confidence and even a progression in their English speaking skills and ultimately the new job they all seek. 

When you walk into the club now you will notice the grounds are in good shape, the shelters have been repaired and a new coat of paint in the clubhouse makes the inside look fresh.

The club is now looking to replace its kitchen and upgrade the toilet amenities; all this made possible because of their involvement with the Work for the Dole Program.

With changes to the Work for the Dole Program coming in as of July 2015, clubs like Footscray Park will not only benefit with the help of job-seekers, but also financially with payments awarded to each placement taken up by the club. 

Many clubs around the country would be in a similar situation, not having enough committed members who can volunteer their labour to help complete all the tasks required to keep their club looking in tip-top shape.

If clubs want to know more about the program, David George is only too happy to speak of his experiences, so please give Footscray Park Bowling Club a call on 03 9687 5563 or visit The Australian Government Department of Employment .