Bass Coast Shire Council is working with local community groups to create events that help grow off-peak visitation to the Shire.
In 2018, Council appointed the Tilma Group to develop a Strategy to attract events to Bass Coast, to help bring people to the region during the off-peak season.
Some of the key outcomes of this Strategy included growing existing events and moving them into the off-peak season and upskilling community event organisers to grow their existing events.
Council was successful in obtaining a $15,000 grant from Regional Development Victoria as part of the Stronger Regional Communities Program to conduct workshops with local groups to help them grow their events.
Linda Tillman from the Tilma Group was engaged to develop and run the workshops.
A day-long workshop was held in March 2019, which covered modules such as planning for long term sustainability, event finances and grant funding and marketing for success. Over 20 people attended the workshop, representing 15 events and organisations.
Following the workshop, the organisers of three existing Bass Coast events are now participating in a series of intensive sessions with Linda, to help them create regional off-peak events.
These events are the Wonthaggi Street Festival held in April, the Phillip Island Whale Festival held in July and the San Remo Fishing Festival which takes place in September. Usually held in March, the Fishing Festival was moved in 2018, to become an off-peak event.
Dee Connell from the Wonthaggi Street Festival committee said that the intensive sessions were helping the group to develop a long-term strategic plan for their event.
She said the committee would like to take the event to the next level and that the advice they are receiving through the sessions will help them do just that.
“The community has really got behind the event in its first three years, but we don’t want to become just another event on the calendar. We want a point of difference, which we aim to identify in our strategic plan,” Ms Connell said.
“If we get bigger, we will need more people and more funding, so these sessions are also helping us to find out what resources are out there and how we can make use of them.”
Another workshop will be conducted later in the year for all event organisers, to review the learnings of the three event committees that are receiving intensive support.