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Three women sitting at a table knitting

Eight community and not-for-profit groups have been awarded a total of $10,000 by bcu in the latest round of Neville Spear Community Grants.

The recipients of the community grants were determined by bcu members who had the opportunity to nominate and vote for the groups they wanted to receive support.

General Manager bcu, Michael Ribbens said supporting the communities in which bcu operates has always been at the very core of the business.

“As a customer-owned bank any profits we make are channelled back into supporting our members, and it’s important that we empower them to help determine where this support is allocated,” Mr Ribbens said.

“We understand that now, more than ever, not-for-profit groups need our support. A lot of these groups rely heavily on fundraising and the ongoing COVID-19 situation has made this very hard to do in recent times.”

Jenny Vickery, President of Warm Touch 2460, was a recent recipient of the Neville Spear Community Grants who echoed this sentiment.

“Warm Touch relies on funds from fundraisers, but unfortunately due to COVID -19 this has been difficult. It has been over three years since we have had any funds come in,” Ms Vickery said.

Warm Touch 2460 is a not-for-profit charity that started out making knitted knee rugs for the Grafton Oncology unit. The group has grown considerably over the past six years and now provides a range of support to several facilities and individuals in need across the Clarence Valley, Mid-North Coast, New England and surrounds.

“Over the past year alone we’ve sent over 3,000 gifts to families who have been impacted by either droughts or bushfire. We also sent out over 500 boxes of food to farmers and 150 backpacks filled with toys. It was huge effort by our local communities and volunteers,” Ms Vickery added. 

Warm Touch 2460 are registered with Australia Knitted Knockers and provide cotton prostheses free to Breast Cancer Survivors Australia wide. Australian Knitted Knockers organisation has strict health and safety regulations for creating the prostheses, including the use of specific materials which can be costly to source. 

“The grant from bcu will be used to purchase the new yarn and fabrics needed to create prostheses for cancer survivors and to pay for the associated packaging and postage to get these delivered.”

Another recipient of the latest round of bcu community grants was Macksville Preschool Childcare Centre, who will use to funds to help repair the centre’s roof that sustained significant water damage during the extreme storm and flood weather events earlier in the year.

Carmen Kerr, Management Committee President said “We are absolutely honoured to receive such a gracious contribution and the financial support will be very helpful in assisting us. We look forward to the completed projects that the grant will help us achieve and feel very fortunate to have been considered and awarded the Neville Spear Community Grant from bcu.”

Ms Kerr said ongoing COVID-19 restrictions had challenged the group and had a significant impact on their financial position.

“The centre is funded only by grants, fees collected, and fundraising initiatives. We rely on our families, volunteers and the community to support us, but recent COVID-19 restrictions have made this difficult.”

Applications for the next round of the Neville Spear Community Grants will open shortly. For more information, or to nominate a community or not-for-profit group, visit bcu’s website.  

Below is a full list of the latest Neville Spear Community Grant recipients:

Winners Runners-up
Macksville Preschool and Childcare Centre Port Macquarie Neighbourhood Centre Inc.
Coffs Harbour Women's Shed Sunshine Coast Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Inc.
Grafton Warm Touch 2460 Gamumbi Early Childhood Education Centre
Bridging the Gap Community Services Inc. Nambucca Senior Citizens Club Inc.