Full steam ahead for miniature railway

May 28, 2020 BY

Portarlington Bayside Miniature Railways received a $3,000 grant from the federal government during National Volunteer Week.

THE tracks and train might be pint-sized but the enjoyment and pleasure Portarlington Bayside Miniature Railways (PBMR) brings children and families is immeasurable.
PMBR president Brian Coleman said the group’s members were all volunteers and a recent $3,000 grant from the federal government – part of $64,170 in funding to 31 volunteer organisations in the Corangamite electorate – would go towards running the experience.
“We’re the only miniature railway in the Geelong-Bellarine region. We pride ourselves on being able to afford families an unforgettable experience that won’t cost them the bank.
“Like all clubs and voluntary organisations, the coronavirus has impacted our organisation. It’s shut off our income stream, we were struggling beforehand and now we’ve missed several months of income including the Easter period.
“We’re approaching winter, so the grant means that we can buy new uniforms for our members, name badges and update our radio system. It might be a minor amount of money for some but for us, it’s a lot.”
Mr Coleman spent his career as a professional lineman working on the tracks, and like most PBMR volunteers, said a passion for trains landed him at the miniature railway.
“All of our volunteers love trains, we get great enjoyment seeing the kids enjoying themselves, they equate the mini-track to a Thomas the Tank Engine they can ride on.
“We have a reputation of being a friendly group and that’s what we pride ourselves on. We’re right by the sea, there’s a playground, and families can picnic at Point Richards.”
Pauline Nunan from Compassionate Hearts on the Bellarine said the organisation would spend their $2,000 grant on reimbursing police checks, and purchasing a “good smart phone for our coordinator” to make things “a little easier”.
Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson said groups would receive the grants to support the work of their volunteers.
“While the work of our volunteers may be unpaid, it is not unrecognised. From fighting bushfires, delivering food to vulnerable Australians in isolation and helping out with the weekend sport, they are all local champions.
“Their contribution is vital to ensuring that we continue to support families, provide employment pathways for young people and strengthen community resilience.”
The funding injection coincides with National Volunteer Week, which was celebrated from May 18-24.
“It’s vital we acknowledge the important contribution of our local volunteers,” Senator Henderson said.
If you would like to make a donation to PBMR they’ve set up a GoFundMe page. Head to gofundme.com and search “PBMR”.

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