Lantern makers (from left) Brett Haydon, Emily Jackson and Martin Pedder, are working on this years Lantern %Parade and hope t
Lantern makers (from left) Brett Haydon, Emily Jackson and Martin Pedder, are working on this years Lantern %Parade and hope t

Worker shortage rains on parade

By JANET GRIST news@northernstar.com.au PREPARATIONS for Lismore's famed Lantern Parade are under pressure from a drop in the number of Work for the Dole participants available to help with the event.

The colourful festival relies on a sizeable number of Work for the Dole participants and volunteers to get everything done.

Lantern Parade creative director Jyllie Jackson said last year nearly 30 Work for the Dole people were available to help out. However, this year, there were fewer than half that number.

"There just doesn't appear to be that many people available," Ms Jackson said.

"There's been a push to get Work for the Dole people into training and a lot have gone off to do short-term training programs.

"That's wonderful, I hope they all get jobs, but it means it's a lot harder for us; and I'm very concerned that the reduction in the Work for the Dole workforce will mean other organisations, which totally depend on volunteer support, are going to be strongly hit."

Ms Jackson said, while there were whispers about that the Work for the Dole program was about to change, there had been no official conformation.

Anyone who wanted to volunteer would be warmly welcomed and, with a variety of jobs to be done, there's something for everyone.

"We're after people to do all sorts of things, to go with us to schools and help in marketing and office work and there are construction jobs involving carpentry and painting as well," she said.

"Our main image last year was a 12 metre by 16 metre construction made of plywood and timber; and, of course, we need people to learn how to make the lanterns and the fire stuff as well."

There were also opportunities to perform and work backstage.

"We work evenings and on weekends, so volunteer time is flexible," Ms Jackson said.

For more information call 6622 6333.



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