DAYLESFORD Rotary is taking on a new venture, to ensure it can continue to support the many causes it funds.
For many years, the Rotary Club has been involved with the Daylesford Farmers Market - hosted at Daylesford Primary School and run by Regional Farmers Markets on the first Saturday of the month.
But several months ago the market organisers were forced to make the decision to let go of several staff members due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Further to this, the decision was made to scale back operations. Rather than running 15 markets a month, they now only run eight.
The Daylesford market was one of the markets put "on hold". In a statement to Facebook, the team said:
"We are very sad about this as we love all our markets and we have operated this market for a long time.
"Our hope and intention is that once we have stabilised and rebuilt a little that we will be in a position to revisit this decision. But for now we need to focus on the rebuild and on our short to medium future."
The Rotary Club has reaped significant funding from gold coin donations made upon entry to the market and from sausage sales - which amounts to about 40 per cent of its annual funds.
These funds help to support a wide range of local projects, including providing blankets to needy people in winter, supporting food relief projects and planting trees, as well as providing some funds to international causes.
President David Stagg said the club "couldn't afford to lose the market".
"We stood to lose our two biggest fundraisers this year - the market and the art show - to COVID."
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"We either had to find another way to find a way of raising that income or run the market ourselves."
And this is what they have decided to do.
After approaching the primary school and Hepburn Shire Council, they were given the green light and are now seeking more stallholders to make the market "bigger and better".
The club already has about a dozen interested local producers and farmers on board - from bread makers to vegetable growers and local brewers and wine makers, but is hoping to at least double that amount and introduce a craft section.
He said it would be a win-win situation for the community - to have such a market to enjoy as well as the majority of funds raised to be injected back into the community.
"It's a real community effort. I am looking forward to it," he said. "It will be great fun."
The market won't begin operating before December due to restrictions.
To express interest in joining the market, contact firstname.lastname@example.org