Lack of volunteers could send Sheffield galas to the wall

Ecclesfield Gala 2012 'Zumba Class takes place in the mani ring
Ecclesfield Gala 2012 'Zumba Class takes place in the mani ring
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The worried organiser of a popular Sheffield gala has warned its future could be in jeopardy - unless new volunteers come forward.

Michael Whiting, organiser of Ecclesfield gala said a lack of help from younger people within the community means the annual event, and others like it across Sheffield, could have to be cancelled in coming years.

Michael, aged 70, said: “Obviously it’s going to go ahead this year but it’s getting harder and harder.

“There’s no doubt about it, if we don’t get some new faces to volunteer then the gala may have to stop.”

Last year around 8,000 people attended the Ecclesfield event.

“You sometimes get the odd person who will come forward and say they want to volunteer on the day but then you never hear from them again.

“We have a committee but we’re all getting old and there’s only so long it can go on for. We need younger people but they don’t seem interested.”

Roo Mahmid, who is volunteering co-ordinator at Sheffield Volunteer Centre, said they had more registered volunteers in the 19-25 year age group than any other.

He said the incentive to volunteer was the prospect of gaining skills, experience and qualifications.

Roo said it was possible young people didn’t feel they would get those skills from being involved in organising community events.

“If that becomes the motivation then you can see why the carnivals and galas might be affected,” he said.

But Stannington Carnival organiser Peter Butler, aged 71, said: “I’ve never heard so much rubbish.

“Coming out and speaking to people from all walks of the community is a fantastic skill people can learn and we’ve got a lot of people with life experience to share with young people.

“Our carnival is OK for the next few years but we are certainly going to need some younger faces on the committee if this event is to continue in the future.”

Ecclesfield Gala takes place on Sunday, September 1 while Stannington Carnival is on Saturday, July 13.

The Stannington Carnival is taking place for the 22nd time this year and is expected to attract 7,ooo visitors.

n In tomorrow’s Retro Star columnist Monica Dyson calls on communities to do their bit to rekindle community spirit by getting involved in organising summer fetes.