MERGING: Rotary Club Maryborough Sunrise members Katrina Pitman, Glenda Pitman and Graham Outhwaite will join forces with the members from Rotary Club of Maryborough.
MERGING: Rotary Club Maryborough Sunrise members Katrina Pitman, Glenda Pitman and Graham Outhwaite will join forces with the members from Rotary Club of Maryborough. File

Rotary clubs join to keep strength in numbers

TO FIGHT dwindling member numbers, the Rotary clubs of Maryborough and Maryborough Sunrise will be merging into one.

After both club's numbers dropped below 20 members each, friendly rivalries were put aside in the hope of joining the two groups.

Maryborough's third Rotary club, Rotary Club of Maryborough City, will remain independent.

Rotary Club of Maryborough president Rod Chisholm said merging was the best way to keep the clubs running as well as they had in the past.

"We've got an aging membership and have struggled, as most community service organisations do, for new memberships and younger volunteers," Mr Chisholm said.

He said numbers were falling in service clubs across the Fraser Coast.

"I think there was a time when social fabric really thrived on community input from clubs, but today Facebook thrives on community input in a similar way," Mr Chisholm said.

"People don't have to leave their homes to have 500 friends; things are very different now."

But Rotary is not the only Fraser Coast service club that is facing reduced numbers.

Queensland Country Women's Association Tinana Branch president Helen Scott said she thought her club would eventually need to merge with the Maryborough CWA branch.

"Right now we have about six (members) and we're all getting a bit older," Mrs Scott said.

"But we hope to hold off as long as possible."

But some clubs are bucking the trend - Rotary Hervey Bay Sunrise president Peter Carey said his club was thriving, with more than 50 members.

"About a quarter of those would be under 40," Mr Carey said.

"We're very pleased with the number of Rotarians that are joining the club every year."



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