Volunteers are the building blocks of a community that thrives

Annual Review stories Community stories: 9 December 2020

Situated 55 km east of Adelaide is the small rural community of Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant acts as a hub for a range of nearby smaller towns including Springton, Eden Valley, Cromer, Birdwood, Palmer, Tungkillo, and Cambrai. The town contains services that cater for the region, such as a public library, a kindergarten and primary school, a hospital, supplies stores, and a post office.

Mount Pleasant is a thriving and innovative community, that holds local events that bring people together, like a monthly Community Dinner, the Annual Mount Pleasant Agricultural Show, and a weekly farmers market. The flourishing community hosts a number of local groups and service clubs and the region also encompasses a number of successful farming and agriculture small businesses.

Established in 2000, the Mount Pleasant Natural Resource Centre Inc (MPNRC) is an active local organisation that works to promote environmental awareness, sustainability and best-practice land management. The community centre provides a significant gathering and activity space and proactively seeks to generate increased visitation, economic opportunities, new jobs and a sense of community for Mt Pleasant residents.

The energy and enthusiasm of volunteers’ play are a big part in MPNRC’s success with nearly 60 active volunteers currently involved with the centre.

Wanting to foster this passion for community engagement, MPNRC realised that their workspace needed a revamp so that it could be bigger, brighter and more inviting, increasing the workshop capacity and volunteer workspace to make it into a safer, all-weather environment.

With a $4,800 grant from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, collaboratively funded by individual donors, and the enthusiastic assistance of volunteers, MPNRC’s refurbishment of The Share Shed (as the locals call it) saw the community and tradespeople join forces to weatherproof, install, refit, replace, repurpose the shared workspace.

The new space has had a positive ripple-effect throughout the community. The revamped Share Shed has hosted held a number of community upcycling workshops, including school workshops, and Mount Pleasant’s inaugural Makers in the Garden Market. MPNRC’s fundraising sales have increased and the expanded volunteer space means the Centre’s volunteer numbers have increased and MPNRC been able to employ four additional staff members.

Sharing with FRRR just how impactful The Share Shed project has been for the Mount Pleasant community, Faye McGoldrick, MPNRC Coordinator expressed MPNRC’s gratitude and said: “Thankyou – this project means a lot to our volunteers and community. It is fantastic to find funding to expand and build on projects that enable us to increase our community support and engagement.”