The New Woodend Star has become the Club’s highest profile and most enduring contribution to the community.
Article by Deidre Willmott, Rotary Club of Woodend, D9800, Foundation Director and Chair of The New Woodend Star Committee
In 1997, a group of Rotarians and volunteers came together to produce a local newsletter for the people of Woodend and neighbouring towns calling it the New Woodend Star. The name came from the original local newspaper the Woodend Star printed in Woodend from 1888 until around 1970.
Today the New Woodend Star has grown into a colour magazine of over 40 pages published monthly, except January, with a total circulation of 4,100 copies delivered free to homes, businesses and post office boxes throughout the district.
The newspaper is funded by advertising income from the local business sector, with content written by the community for the community.
The New Woodend Star has become the Club’s highest profile and most enduring contribution to the community. It provides visibility for The Rotary Club of Woodend, D9800, and our projects, and is a fantastic way to promote Rotary International.
Every Woodend Rotarian and many friends are involved in the production process, either writing articles, seeking advertisers or serving on the management committee. One of our most popular events each month is gathering to fold the magazines before they go out for delivery. Although during recent years this has been done privately, we are looking forward to this resuming as a group activity.
During the COVID lockdown restriction the New Woodend Star became a linchpin, keeping the community together with many business sending messages of gratitude for the support they had received from their community.
Finally, it is a constant and reliable source of fundraising. Since 1997, the loyal support of our advertisers has seen us raise nearly $300,000 which has been given back to the community through projects that benefit the whole community. As examples, the club has built the Rotary walking track complete with exercise equipment, provided yearly support for local emergency services, equipment to establish the Men’s Shed and supported many other local community groups. In recent years we averaged a yearly profit of $12,000, but in 2020-21 we exceeded expectations during the pandemic to make a $25,000 profit.
The New Woodend Star is both a community and a fundraising project and has certainly proven to be a powerful project for Woodend Rotary.
For more information please see our new website: www.newwoodendstar.com or email Rotary Club of Woodend President Josephine Falzarano at firstname.lastname@example.org.