The cancellation of the Sydney Royal Easter Show has meant the loss of a significant fundraising opportunity for the CWA of NSW, but with challenges also comes opportunities and a very 21st century initiative has been devised to keep funds ticking over.
The CWA of NSW has run the Tea Room at the Royal Easter Show for more than 70 years, raising in recent years an average of $150,000 from the sale of about 50,000 scones, tea, coffee and products made by members.
However, when the decision was made to cancel the show earlier last month as part of control measures around Coronavirus, the organisation started to think of some ways to help bridge the funding gap and came up with the 'virtual scone'.
"There's no doubt the show's cancellation was an enormous disappointment and not only from a fundraising perspective. The Easter Show Tea Room is a big part of our heritage and this year would have been our 73rd year in running it. We have more than 400 volunteers involved across the two weeks with an enormous amount of work going into the preparations and then its operation. Some members have been making the trip to Sydney to work at the Tea Room for decades," CWA of NSW President Stephanie Stanhope said.
"Obviously it's also a big disappointment for show-goers, too, and the organisers who work so hard to stage the event each year.
"But, at the moment all of our lives have had to change and we as an organisation are adapting along with everyone else. So, with technology playing such a huge role in helping us make the changes required, we decided to embrace this and are now offering people the chance to buy a plate of 'virtual scones', from our website, or even a whole 'virtual' Devonshire Tea.
"While you may not be able to physically sit in our wonderful Tea Room and enjoy a scone and a cuppa, you can still have the satisfaction of making a donation to the CWA of NSW and even have the opportunity to whip up a Devonshire tea of your own at home," Stephanie said.
From today, when the 2020 Royal Easter Show was to have opened its gates, people can go onto the CWA of NSW's online shop and purchase a plate of 'virtual scones' for $5, a 'Devonshire Tea' for $10, a dozen plain 'virtual scones' for $20 and a whole batch of cyber delicacies for $50.
Anyone who makes a donation in this way will receive a PDF copy of the CWA of NSW's famous scone recipe to try their hand at home at whipping up some of these much-loved treats - a great activity for those who will be spending Easter at home rather than enjoying a day out at the Show.
"It's certainly not the same as visiting our famous Tea Room and enjoying morning tea, but this year - more than ever perhaps - we have to find new ways to fundraise because the assistance offered by our organisation and members is just so important right now. We are helping communities and individuals still feeling the impact of drought, those left reeling after the bushfires and now the whole of our state is facing the enormous challenges associated with COVID-19," Stephanie said.
"2020 is going to be enormously difficult for everyone, but with the ongoing generosity of the community, and with the small purchase of a 'virtual' CWA scone, we can ensure our grant schemes, outreach programs and branch activities continue to deliver where they're needed most."
To purchase a 'virtual' sweet treat and scone recipe, go to https://shop.cwaofnsw.org.au/