As we near the end of one of the most tumultuous years our community has experienced in recent history, it is timely to stop and reflect on what it is that has held us together.
For Clubs Queensland members, our very existence is all about the people we serve.
The clubs we represent each have a story to tell. They have been founded by community members with a shared passion – be that for sport, for an artistic endeavour, or for the support of others, such as our soldiers returning from war.
Community clubs exist for the members and the local community they come from. They survive with the support of volunteers and the business know-how of those managing the venues.
As we looked across the state for this edition to talk to club managers about how they had fared this year and what is to come for 2021, the power of that community connection shone through.
If ever there was a shining example of what clubs are all about, the story of the Brisbane Jazz Club’s COVID-19 experience is one to note.
The Club, founded on a shared passion of a jazz music nearly 50 years ago, has a loyal and loving membership.
So loyal in fact that they were willing to dig into their own pockets to the tune of $60,000 in order to keep the club operating into the future when it became clear it would not be eligible for the first round of JobKeeper.
The club had always been there for its members, and, in a time of need, when asked to help, the members reciprocated in a big way to ensure their club and all that it means to them did not become a victim of the times.
In Weipa, the Bowls Club crew quickly innovated to ensure they could help their members through the tough times.
Not only did they turn their stand-alone bottle shop into a click and collect takeaway food venue they also looked for ways to help others in their local community to keep their businesses alive.
One example was paying the local taxi driver a flat fee for delivering food to those who could not get out. It was a win for the taxi service, providing much needed revenue, and a win for members receiving home delivered food from their favourite club for the first time.
In Stanthorpe the RSL was reduced to a skeleton staff for a number of months with the club using the time to improve the facilities and freshen up the venue for when members could return.
With more than 11,000 members and a staff of 32, the club is a big part of a town that continues to battle drought conditions while recovering from last year’s bushfires and this year’s COVID-19 impact. The club is determined to stand by its community as they work towards a brighter future.
For the members of the Sunshine Beach Surf Club patience and belief have been a big part of their last 12 months. In a giant leap of faith the management of the club opted to shut the doors to their venue for almost a year to undertake a complete overhaul of their offering.
While its members were forced to find elsewhere to meet for most of 2019, when the doors re-opened at the stunning new venue this year local support was bigger than ever before. Members are voting with their feet and they are coming back in droves to their beloved club.
Anecdotally at least, after talking to managers across the state, it is pretty clear many of the members of our clubs feel a real sense of ownership of their local venues. The clubs are a part of these members’ lives that represent great memories, good times, a sense of being “at home” and a sense of pride in being involved in supporting a sport, an artform or a group of their community that could do with a hand.