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WHY do people no longer come forward to serve on committees, help organise sporting events,?

(40 Posts)
bimbadeen Sat 30-Aug-14 17:22:46

I am secretary of a small residents group, have been for last eight years, we have regular meetings but it is the same old faces each month. If a resident needs something doing, moaning about dustbins being left out , the clearing up of dog poo, mattresses being dumped then someone will come for one meeting to get their point over and then attend no more meetings. We have Councillors, Police and City Wardens attend on a regular basis, we used to have a speaker on a range of subjects for half hour prior to the main meeting but people just don't seem to be interested in committee work or doing anything for the community they live in any more.How do you get people to attend and do things ??? PLEASE TELL ME. I am more than willing to let people do things so I don't have to do them myself.

felice Sat 30-Aug-14 17:35:46

A lot of people now seem to be afraid to 'get involved' in case they become 'responsible'.
We have noticed in our Church here that Americans in particular are happy to come and get their hands dirty, wash dishes etc.
When it comes to putting their names to things they do not want to take responsibility.
problem now being that the old faithfuls are now getting on a bit, a lot in some cases and of course it is the same round of discussion at each meeting, often going nowhere.
I was a Community Education Officer for many years organising Youth Clubs and other community groups, and even 21 years ago when I left it was becoming more and more difficult to get volunteer helpers. As a Scout leader here for many years and the risk assesments and rules and regs, needed I know, no lectures please, or I will quote you all the regs!!!!!put a lot of people of volunteering.
Sorry not very positive, I am afraid, but you are not alone.

HollyDaze Sat 30-Aug-14 18:03:18

How do you get people to attend and do things

I think this has been a growing problem for many, many years now. I ran two Scout groups (one here and one in UK) for over 20 years (and ran two sections here at the same time) - I was also a youth worker (here and in the UK) and finding people to volunteer to form committees was always a problem and believe me, I tried everything.

As you have said, there is a small core of people who do help every single time help is needed and you do feel awful asking the same people over and over again to do things. I think it's probably that people have changed over the last few decades and most likely have very little spare time so they tend to focus on their own lives more. There seems to be a distinct lack of community spirit.

I wish I had some positive suggestion to make but sadly, I don't. Disbanding the residents group may bring it home to them the important role that it plays?

Nonu Sat 30-Aug-14 18:18:03

Perhaps people are not getting involved so much as they are out spending their money.

I could/would not get involved in anything, as we are away in total, for 14 weeks of the year.

Maybe others are the same .


Gracesgran Sat 30-Aug-14 18:49:56

I think I heard that we have the longest working hours culture in Europe so that probably doesn't help.

When those who are of working age are at home they seem to be taking various children to 101 different activities during the week. I know I exaggerate but we didn't seem to do anywhere near the ferrying that my son's and daughter's generation do and we were considered very "involved" parents.

Mum's, who where often the pillars of these organisations, now work full-time more often and go back to this earlier.

When you get to the older members of our society, firstly they now have to work to an older age so quite a bit of the fitter decade many had post retirement is gone. If they do have time they may be caring for the even more elderly relatives who may live longer but are often frail or they could be filling the childcare gap for children who cannot afford the expense and may prefer Granny/Grandpa care if they cannot be there themselves. Or they could be doing both; this is the sandwich generation.

We, or perhaps those who govern us have ceased to understand the real value of time and, I believe, we are all the poorer for it.

JessM Sat 30-Aug-14 19:13:43

Nor all voluntary groups, parish councils etc are a joy to join. Often they are not well chaired and ramble on all evening. Or people are not welcoming. Or there are one or two dominant individuals who rule the roost, or have a scary manner or some other behaviour that drives people away. Maybe you should ask someone impartial who understands how groups work to come and observe your committee and tell you whether there is anything that you could do that would make people want to participate more.

goldengirl Sat 30-Aug-14 19:25:27

Because many are boring, have long winded members and are not business savvy so a lot of time is wasted. Some of the issues are very petty too.

For people to join in anything it has be be relevant to them; they have to get something out if it as well. There is a stigma about being a 'do gooder'. Locally a group has been doing some clearing of an historical area and so there's been a focus and it is finite - and received positive publicity.

Young people will get involved if they benefit and in fact they can become quite protective about a project with which they are involved. Older people are involved more with family and child care perhaps these days and perhaps the thought of taking on something extra does not appeal.

susieb755 Sat 30-Aug-14 21:13:50

Unlike when I was a young mum, so many couples both have to work, and need all their spare time to spend with their children , their parents are probably exhausted from childcaring

We cut our committee teeth on playschool committee, but that option has by and large disappeared, as its all now sure start etc

I am chair of a women's group, and we are very lucky that every tear on women day loads of women volunteer to run workshops and do demos, but getting regular commitment is hard - our oldest committee member is 82 and the youngest a mid 30 dinky

Likewise I am a trustee of homestart locally, and it is hard to get people to volunteer
I think there is also a backlash against Cameron's Big Society - i.e people are aware that the extra need fro volunteers is due the stories cutting local government spending and expecting people to do other peoples jobs for free !

susieb755 Sat 30-Aug-14 21:14:30

Mind you - I work for the Police, and we have loads of volunteers !

janerowena Sat 30-Aug-14 21:19:06

I hadn't even moved in before I had people knocking at my door trying to get me on a committee. I took evasive action because I had seen how it affected MiL, she felt so duty-bound that it was hard for her to get away on holiday or for visits. So I will wash up, bake cakes, organise a stall every year for the village fete, sing in the village choir, go litter-picking, go carol-singing, be on the flower rota, do the teas at various events and allow the use of my house for committee meetings - but I will not run anything, because sometimes we simply cannot be around. When DBH is on holiday, he wants to be flexible. I think people get out and about more now than people used to, we travel more and take short breaks.

For example, the job that really needs filling now is that of running the village hall bookings. My somewhat older friend used to do it, but she rarely went anywhere. She is in her mid 70s. She would take the bookings, meet people at the hall and show them how to work lighting and the industrial dishwasher etc, and the bar. Then they either dropped the key back to her, or she would go across to lock up. What woman in their mid 70s wants that sort of job? I cannot think of anyone younger than that with the time to spare to take her place.

Yet the admirable women in my village have only just realised that apart from their treasurer, they have no men on any committee whatsoever. It's just the same in my choir. You would think that all the retired men would be more than happy to run a village.

rosequartz Sat 30-Aug-14 21:24:18

DH is involved in the local branch of a national charity but it is impossible to get anyone to organise the annual fundraising now the person who was doing it wants to retire. The volunteers are mostly over 70.

NfkDumpling Sat 30-Aug-14 21:39:05

I'm on a couple of committees and would love to drop one - the local wildlife society as we seem to be away more and I miss half the meetings. There's a good turn out for meetings, generally around 50 people, we have good speakers. We have 8 or 9 on the committee so the work is shared and not onerous. Yet no one will put themselves forward. Why? So many are happy to turn up, socialise, then vanish off home. As if they seem to think we're paid staff.

rosesarered Sat 30-Aug-14 21:50:49

I think Goldengirl and JessM may have some valid points. Some committees can be hellish to be on, meetings go on all night.You feel you may die of boredom.There is also the feeling of not wanting to be tied down, now that we can go away for breaks whenever we like.I used to be on a few committees [when the children were growing up] and I had to be around anyway, but now things are different.

rubysong Sat 30-Aug-14 21:56:27

janerowena in our village the hall bookings are done by one person and the unlocking and locking up are done on a rota. Each month there are two 'hall supervisors' (mostly men) and they get an email with all the bookings/tables required etc. They can split the month between them as they wish. It seems to work OK, DH is one of them and only has to do it a couple of times a year. This spreads the load and people seem to be willing to do it (they are not committee members). The bookings lady can do most of it by phone/email.

Grannyknot Sat 30-Aug-14 22:22:54

I tried getting involved in our local residents association but I soon realised that it attracted boring self serving types and those who like complaining. So I got out. Life's too short. I volunteer my time in other ways, on an ad hoc basis.

Charleygirl Sat 30-Aug-14 22:44:22

I am a member of a local society and to date I have been the only person fundraising for the last 3 years. Money does not grow on trees but the majority still want their very subsidised Christmas lunch at a decent restaurant and away days to places of interest.

I cover for the treasurer and the person who sorts out the teas and coffees, and as NfkDumpling said, I was also treated as paid staff but only the once with a person ordering tea for herself. She was politely told she could get off her chair and pick up the refreshments.

I agree, it is the same people who volunteer or are asked to cover.

mtp123 Sun 31-Aug-14 12:56:27

Do you have new people moving into your area? When I moved Counties a few years ago I was invited to a WI Meeting by a neighbour. Well needless to say only a few weeks later I was a Committee member, I think because I did not mind doing the washing However I have made so many new friends, have a busy social life and love being part of the Village Community. We have a majority of more elderly members but by putting a write up in the Parish News each month, helping out at other events etc we have gained 4 new members and whilst some members are happy just to enjoy the social side we have also got new Committee member too and now of the 7 committee 4 have moved into the village.

Galen Sun 31-Aug-14 13:57:06

I've volunteered to help at an archery tournament next weekend. I'm doing reception.

janerowena Sun 31-Aug-14 14:38:25

Re the ''staff' thing - we were doing teas for one event when we were told off by separate people (please bear in mind that we had paid for and made cakes and sandwiches ourselves) for handling money without gloves (we had one person who ONLY handled money) for making the tea too strong, for not making a separate selection of gluten-free cakes, for not having a suitably large choice of sandwiches for vegetarians and for placing meat-filled sandwiches next to non-meat. It's very deflating when you are feeling tired.

My mother says that in her day, if people didn't like what was about to be served, they brought their own.

rubysong I think I shall suggest that we put an advert in the village newssheet for a couple of men. Who knows, it may get them involved in something else. DBH&Son help to cart heavy stuff about, but they aren't often around, one working or doing athletics or singing, the other at Uni.

We know several couples who go away deliberately just before our village fete so that they won't have to help out.

glammanana Sun 31-Aug-14 15:06:47

I live in a small Community and we have a Communial garden where a few times during the year I try to organise a day where everyone can come to-gether and have a brew/chat/cupcake/general get together at the last one I was told not to make such spicy food and that that there was no cress in the egg-mayo sandwiches and to make sure the garden was quiet for 6pm as a couple of the residents liked to take a nap early.All the food drink & chairs etc where allocated by just three of us so its a no win situation sometimes.It will be my birthday in 2 weeks and I bet they all turn up in the front garden for a slice of cake and a brew with out so much as an invitation,as DD always sets the chairs out for us to enjoy with GDCs.

Charleygirl Sun 31-Aug-14 15:49:06

I usually buy the milk (my purse) for the teas and coffees and it is not good enough that I only supply semi skimmed fresh milk. One really cannot get the staff these days!!!

Elegran Sun 31-Aug-14 16:10:50

I hope you are ready with the obvious answers to all these complaints, ladies.

"You are quite right, if you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself. There does happen to be a vacancy on the committee.
Shall I propose your name to fill it? I can ask X if she will second it, and I am sure you will be welcomed. We meet on XXX every month/week to plan the next event and decide who will do all that needs done. There are never enough hands, and your help would be really appreciated"

Charleygirl Sun 31-Aug-14 16:55:45

Oh yes Elegran if whatever I produce, buy or serve is not up to their standard, They get first offer to take over and they soon shut up.

janerowena Sun 31-Aug-14 17:00:13

Actually I should try that approach - I have just started to use it more on DBH and it works on him!

Hunt Sun 31-Aug-14 17:29:27

Our youth orchestra secretary said that people had been complaining about how she did the job. I said pick up the books, hand them to the grumbler and say you're more than welcome to take over. End of grumbles. Committees need a very focused chairman to prevent ' rambling'.