Darley volunteers get a leg up

Darley Football Netball Club volunteers. (Supplied)

Darley Football Netball Club president Mark Shelly is overjoyed at the news his club will be the beneficiary of a grant program that will give club volunteers the chance to upskill.

Darley was announced as one of the recipients of the Telstra Footy Country Grants earlier this month, with clubs from around Australia set to benefit.

In Darley’s case, this funding will go toward development courses for its unpaid helpers, which make up the bulk of its workforce.

Darley president Mark Shelly said the funding would go a long way.

“You couldn’t count the amount of hours our volunteers put in on a weekly basis,” he said.

“Any support for the volunteers is unbelievable, clubs such as ours don’t run without volunteers.”

Everyone from team managers, assistant coaches, interchange stewards and bar staff are volunteer positions at most football clubs including Darley.

“It’s not just game day but also ongoing management,” Shelly said.

“Even in the offseason we need a lot of people getting things organised for the upcoming season, we’ll make sure the funds are put to good use.”

According to the details provided regarding the outline of the grant, the grant money can be used to finance courses in bookkeeping, governance, barista training, responsible service of alcohol and food handling.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic key advocates for community sport such as Sport Australia were concerned club volunteer numbers could lapse following the strict lockdown period.

However Mr Shelly said volunteer numbers have remained strong at his club.

“We’ve been pretty good,” he said.

“Of course you’re always looking for more volunteers to lessen the load.”