At a time when community journalism is under considerable threat, we are grateful to see that our local volunteer operated Mirboo North Times is still going strong.
“Such a lot of volunteer work goes on week in, week out to create a paper for our community. We continue to provide a voice and platform for the community to discuss important issues,” said Rob Waycott, President of the Mirboo North Times Committee.
“It was disheartening to see the Star newspaper fall over, after being in operation since 1890. Our own paper here has been in operation since those same glory days of the pioneering railway newspapers. We have been lucky that Mirboo North stood up, electing to continue to operate the newspaper on a volunteer-run basis.”
Rob hands us a newspaper article from the LV Express from May 20th, 1997, with the headline that reads “50 Say Mirboo North Needs News.”
“It’s still true, we provide a voice for the community, as well importantly providing a conduit between local council and our residents.”
Not only does the Mirboo North Times provide our news fix, Rob tells us that the profits from the sale of the Mirboo North Times are again being sent to targeted community projects of importance. In the last year significant donations have been made to the Mirboo North Op Shop and the Friends of the Swimming Pool, and funds have been given to the primary and secondary schools for scholarship awards.
“We also support the health and well-being of our young people through a donation of $200 each month to the Chaplaincy and Wellbeing Fund at the Community Foundation,” says Rob.
“The Chaplaincy and Well-being Fund was set up in 2014 with the aim of securing the continuing role of a chaplain working with students at the Mirboo North schools. More recently, the Chaplaincy team have also taken on a broader well-being role. They secured funding for kitting out a sensory room in the Inclusive Centre at the Mirboo North Primary School” said Ruth Rogan, Executive Officer of the Community Foundation.
At a time when we hear a lot about the death of print media, it is also becoming clear that community newspapers like the Mirboo North Times are bucking this trend: they are thriving, providing a voice for their communities and improving engagement and our sense of community belonging. All thanks to a team of a dozen or so volunteers! On top of this, they are putting profits back into important community projects.
The Mirboo North and District Community Foundation commends the Mirboo North Times on its community donation efforts. If you want to make a tax deductible donation to the Chaplaincy and Well-being Fund before the end of financial year, you can do so on the Community Foundation’s website or call the office on 0418 301 092.