ORANGE City Council has pledged its support for Taste Orange by recommending it be given a funding boost of $81,384 to maintain and expand the four seasonal events it stages.
Taste Orange executive officer Rhonda Sear said the funding allocation would ensure Slow Summer, Frost Fest, Wine Week and Food Week continues to grow at a time when there had been a “dramatic decline in the capacity of volunteers to conduct major events”.
In a letter to council, Ms Sear said volunteer exhaustion, the continued growth of the events and a lack of resources had left the future of some of Taste Orange’s key events in “jeopardy” .
Ms Sear told council not only were volunteers overworked, but Taste Orange staff were also being forced to fulfil the roles of volunteers as well as doing their own jobs.
“This is not sustainable,” she said.
Ms Sear told the Central Western Daily that volunteers had worked incredibly hard to support Taste Orange events over the years.
“ Volunteers can only do so much,” she said.
In addition to a lack of resources, the current economic climate had made it difficult for Taste Orange to find new sponsors, having already lost two existing sponsors.
The new funding allocation will allow Taste Orange to employ an events manager for an additional one day a week and administrative support for four days a week.
“I’m very pleased Orange City Council supports the direction Brand Orange is going in regard to the general promotion of Orange and the region,” she said.
Ms Sear said she was keen to spread the word that Taste Orange was a marketing organisation that promoted a range of different sectors, not just food and wine.
“We want to engage all of the community including children, the elderly ... it’s a broad brush,” she said.
Ms Sear said she frequently took phone calls from Sydneysiders looking for “a more positive lifestyle”.
“We want to put Orange on the radar whether people come to visit or live here,” she said