Soar, Ride and Shine could return if funding row is finalised

THE hugely popular Soar, Ride and Shine show may return in the future, but not until Lifeline’s funding row has been sorted out.

The inaugural air, car and motorbike show, held at Bathurst Airport in May this year, attracted more than 8000 people and raised $42,000 for Lifeline Central West (LCW).

But the current funding dispute between LCW and Lifeline Australia (LA) has put an indefinite hold on the event.

LCW executive director Alex Ferguson announced the event’s axing last month, saying the $75,000 cost to stage the event, and the ongoing lack of funds from LA, meant it would not be held for the foreseeable future.

“We’re very upset we can’t do it [run Soar, Ride and Shine], but quite frankly we need some resolution [to the lack of funds],” he said.

Each year the NSW Government allocates funds to LA, which then distributes around $100,000 to each of its member centres across the country.

We’re very upset we can’t do it [run Soar, Ride and Shine], but quite frankly we need some resolution [to the lack of funds].

Lifeline Central West executive director Alex Ferguson

But under the charity’s constitution, which LCW agreed to in 2012, the offices in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo are considered one single centre located in Bathurst that also operates out of the other cities.

As such LCW receives $100,000 each year, rather than $300,000.

Mr Ferguson said he had been in discussions with LA since July when the new funding allocations were made for this financial year, but said LA was not interested in discussing the LCW locations being deemed as separate centres until news of the row hit the media.

He said he understood that if the Orange and Dubbo locations were reclassified as “centres” it would take away some funds from other centres across the country, but he said it was justified because LCW’s footprint is one-third of NSW.

LA chief executive officer Pete Shmigel spoke to the Western Advocate this week to reassure anyone thinking of calling Lifeline’s 13 11 14 number that their phone call would be answered.

“I’m having daily phone calls from volunteers over this; [they say] that people will lose confidence to call Lifeline,” he said.

“[People are thinking] ‘if Lifeline is having these problems why would I trust Lifeline with my life’.

“It has really serious implications for people considering calling Lifeline.”

Mr Shmigel said LA had invited LCW to be part of a discussion process to sort the funding matter out.