COMMUNITY GIVING

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From the very beginning of the ChillOut festival, finding a way to give back to the local community was a top priority.

Foundation ChillOut committee member Margaret remembers that the organisers ‘were always mindful of who we were and what we were and that we did not want to alienate the community. So it was topmost on the agenda that we gave back and we did so publicly’.[1] Leanne Spain, another foundation committee member, agrees that ‘community awareness and giving back was the predominate thing’.[2] While the festival did not become a registered not-for-profit organisation until 2003, from the very first festival day there was an understanding that any profits generated would ‘go back into donations to the community’.[3] Ally Paul joined the committee shortly after the first ChillOut and as she remembers:

We wanted to make enough money to make the festival sustainable but we also wanted to make enough money to give back to the community because that's also another way of inclusion and saying that we're all part of this community and we can help each other. There were always donations made to some other community or charitable group within the Hepburn Shire.[4]

In 2007, by the time the festival celebrated its tenth anniversary, ChillOut organisers estimated the organisation had given back $45,000 to the local community.[5] Funds were raised through a variety of different avenues, including offering opportunities for local organisations such as the SES, CFA and schools to profit by running much-needed operations, like car parking, on the festival days. The introduction of the Slowest Lunch, which has since become the Lavish Lunch, was another way the festival raised thousands of dollars for nominated local charities and worthy causes. The lunch included silent and live auctions with items generously donated by local businesses.

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Over the years the festival has supported a range of different organisations and charity groups, including the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Victorian AIDS Council, the local CFA and SES, schools, Daylesford Hospital Appeal, Hepburn Health Services redevelopment, Riding for the Disabled, Daylesford Recreation Centre, Hepburn Wildlife Shelter and Daylesford and District Food Aid, to name just a few. Former ChillOut committee member and Daylesford resident Renee Ludekens recalls that one year: ‘We gave money for two or three thousand dollars worth of books to go into the library’.[6]

Festival Director Merryn Tinkler carries on the tradition of giving back to the local community. She says that it’s ‘really important’ that the festival continues to give back to the community because it is the small, rural community that rallies around the event.

Because we're relying on a very small pool of people to support us to do this festival, and they do because they get the economic benefit back; the small businesses, and the venues, and the retailers understand that.[7]

In 2018 ChillOut has commissioned an economic impact study to properly assess the financial impact that ChillOut has on the local community – both in terms of income generated from festival-goers and also funds raised. Merryn hopes that this will ‘really prove that it’s worth the local government putting more resources behind us ... putting it behind an event that actually sees a lot of benefit for the community’.[8]

Stalwart volunteers Danny and Roz Moynihan became festival volunteers shortly after their daughter Natalie joined the committee. The Moynihan family soon became a well-known name around the festival with Danny and his wife Roz taking on the responsibility of handling all the money coming through on the festival days. After years of dedication to the festival, Danny says:

One of the major reasons why I've stuck with it over that time is the amount of money that they've put back into the community. It's one of the things that people don't realise, how much money that ChillOut has raised for other organisations, huge amounts. I think there was talk of $250,000 to $300,000 over 20-odd years.[9]
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In 2014, the Worthy Cause fund that raised the most money during the festival was renamed the Roz Moynihan Worthy Cause in honour of the many years of dedication Roz and the Moynihan family gave to ChillOut. ChillOut volunteer director Tanya Baricevich told The Advocate in 2014: ‘We are doing this in memory of Roz, a true superhero of our local community [whose] enthusiasm for ChillOut was legendary’.[10]

 

[1] Interview with Margaret, 18 December 2017.

[2] Interview with Leanne Spain, 11 January 2018.

[3] Interview with Leanne Spain, 11 January 2018.

[4] Interview with Ally Paul, 18 December 2017.

[5] Newspaper article, 3 May 2007, untitled, ChillOut archives.

[6] Interview with Renee Ludekens, 18 December 2017.

[7] Interview with Merryn Tinkler, 16 January 2018.

[8] Interview with Merryn Tinkler, 16 January 2018.

[9] Interview with Danny Moynihan, 18 December 2017.

[10] ‘Stalwart of Daylesford community, Roz Moynihan, honoured at ChillOut’,The Advocate, 11 February 2014, www.hepburnadvocate.com.au , accessed 30 January 2018.