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Tuckshop Volunteer Numbers Plunge As Cost-Of-Living Bites Hard

New data from Volunteering Queensland shows that volunteering numbers across the state continue to plummet… and school tuckshops are not immune.

The State of Volunteering in Queensland 2024 Report released yesterday, showed an 11.4 per cent decline in volunteer participation, with lack of time and associated costs the top two barriers for volunteering more.

Volunteer retention was the number one challenge for volunteer managers, and according to the Queensland Association of School Tuckshops CEO, Deanne Wooden, this finding is reflected in school tuckshops throughout Queensland.

“This report has confirmed what we already know and what our members have been telling us for the last few years; that recruiting and retaining volunteers in today’s climate is almost impossible,” Ms Wooden said.

“With the cost of living rising, unemployment rates low, and parents time-poor, the pool of volunteers for school tuckshops is drying up.

“It’s sink or swim, and unfortunately many tuckshop businesses are sinking. Without volunteers, some school tuckshops will cease to exist.”

The Queensland Association of School Tuckshops (QAST) works closely with school tuckshops to build capacity in tuckshops and improve health outcomes for children.

Through member services and resources, training like their Volunteer Management Course, and programs like their Creating Connections through Cooking program, they are able to help tuckshops develop sound volunteer management practices that encourage participation and recognition.

“Initiatives like our Connections through Cooking program have been crucial in aiding the placement of volunteers in school tuckshops.

“The program has been warmly welcomed in the community since its inception in 2019, but due to lack of government funding, QAST won’t be able to continue to run it moving forward.

“This is a big loss not only to school tuckshops, but to the CALD community that it has benefited over the last 5 years.”

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