JUST one volunteer stepped forward to help steward a musical event in Ross -on-Wye.
At the town council meeting on Monday night councillors discussed how difficult it was to get members of the public involved in volunteering at events for the town.
Cllr Hannah Lerego announced she was stepping down as chairman of the events committee – a position she has held since 2015.
During this time she has helped organise the Christmas Fayre and lights switch-on, Bands in the Park and last year’s Proms in the Park at Ross Bandstand, among other events.
Responding to a member of the public at the meeting who said it would be beneficial if a voluntary team can be set up to take the pressure off the committee, she said: “As a committee we have tried very hard to engage the public via social media, being available at surgeries, etc.
“On Facebook, Bands in the Park has about 1,000 people following it. But when it was Proms in the Park one volunteer steward came forward from a town of 11,000.
“I know people say they want events. The challenge we have with any group or committee, it tends to be a small group of people who do the work which benefits a large amount of people.
“As a councillor I elected to put myself in this position but is is a challenge. We ask for help, people say yes and then disappear. I had to rely on close friends and family.”
She said she has received some criticism with regards to events she has organised and decided it was time to see if someone else could do a better job.
Cllr Chris Bartrum said: “We do try to engage the public. It may seem to people on Facebook that we don’t. But you can just see how many people turn up for this meeting for a town of 11,000 [there were three members of the public].
“The meeting is publicised on our Facebook site now. Obviously why would they turn up because it is so incredibly boring but that is the nature of trying to get things done. It is boring.”
He suggested that the newsletter is brought back which is delivered to people’s homes. The clerk said the next newsletter is currently being finalised.
Cllr Jane Roberts said that while the town council arranges the events they are not going to get volunteers as the public see the council as a corporate body.
She said the council should act as a support for groups who want to organise event.
The council thanked Cllr Lerego for her work. Cllr Roberts volunteered to join the committee and Cllr Caroline Bennett was made the chairman.