Commonwealth Bank is investing half a million dollars along the NSW South Coast to support communities who have not only seen their local economies heavily impacted by the coronavirus, but are still struggling to recover from the devastating bushfires earlier this year.
This $500,000 investment forms part of the Commonwealth Bank Bushfire Recovery Grants program, which is expected to fund a total of $10 million in bushfire recovery projects across the country.
Nathan Barker, Commonwealth Bank Head of Community Investment, said: “While it’s been about six months since the bushfires devastated areas along the NSW South Coast and beyond, it’s by no means over for those affected. A number of these communities still face the difficult task of rebuilding, something that hasn’t been made any easier by the impact of coronavirus.
“We’re committed to understanding how we can support these communities and help to rebuild confidence and resilience in the long term. We’ve been speaking to NSW South Coast communities about how we can help and have identified a number key organisations who have and continue to play a key role in local recovery efforts.
“From food distribution to emergency housing, mental health services, disability and sporting clubs, we hope that this additional $500,000 in funding will enable these organisations to continue to support individuals and businesses as they continue down the long road to recovery.”
The half a million dollar investment coincides with a visit by Commonwealth Bank CEO, Matt Comyn, to the NSW South Coast this week where he will be meeting with a number of community members, customers, small businesses, community organisations and grant recipients to see the impact of coronavirus and the bushfires first hand.
This includes Sapphire Community Pantry, a volunteer pantry service based in Bega, offering free grocery staples to locals in need. The service has received a grant to help improve community outreach with better transport facilities.
Sapphire Community Pantry President, Christine Welsh said, “Our Pantry works hard to provide food and groceries free of charge or at a minimum cost to those in need across the Bega Valley. After the bushfires, we identified a need to extend our services to some of the smaller locations in the area to assist people who have been reluctant to leave their communities – be it due to lack of transport, funds to travel, or trauma from recent events. This grant from CBA will allow us to create a mobile pantry and transport food and goods to those areas that need our support most.”
Local organisations that have received a grant and are on the road to recovery include:
- Sapphire Community Pantry to improve community outreach by purchasing another van for transporting goods.
- Lifeline South Coast to provide suicide awareness and domestic and family violence training in support of long-term recovery.
- Narooma Surf Life Saving Club to upgrade their facilities so they can be better equipped as an evacuation centre in future, with disabled-friendly access.
- Bermagui Preschool's Urban & Indigenous Agriculture Project to fund Moodji Farm. Meaning ‘mate’, Moodji Farm supports its community via provision of the Urban & Indigenous Agriculture Program.
- Group 16 Rugby League, covering the NSW South Coast region, to develop a large-scale Rugby League Knockout Tournament, set to start in 2021.
- Bermagui & District Seniors' Social Club received to support seniors who have been experiencing isolation and stress in the current environment.
- Foodbank, based in Bega to purchase food from local producers in bushfire areas for onward distribution to charities supporting the recovery phase of the disaster.
- Eurobodalla Riding for the Disabled for a new premises to cater better for their disabled clients and provide much needed outdoor shade for the horses and riders.
- Riverina Region Scouts NSW to address damage to their property and assets not covered in insurance.
Commonwealth Bank is expected to donate more than $10 million to support bushfire-impacted communities through both its Bushfire Recovery Grants Scheme and supporting relief organisations.
For more information, visit: https://www.commbank.com.au/bushfirerecovery.