The donation forms part of the Commonwealth Bank Christmas Drought Appeal, which the bank launched with a $1 million donation, and includes a range of initiatives by the bank to provide much needed support to farmers and regional communities.
Countless children from remote regional areas are unable to attend school due to isolation and financial circumstances, a situation made much worse by the drought. BCEF provides bursaries to families in NSW and border areas of adjoining states to assist with the cost of education, particularly the costs involved with sending children to boarding schools.
A recent study from the Isolated Children’s Parents Association of NSW found that 95 per cent of respondents are struggling with the enormity of the drought and education costs. A further 36 per cent are already on payment plans with boarding schools, borrowing from family, increasing overdrafts or working second jobs.
Grant Cairns, Executive General Manager for Regional and Agribusiness Banking at Commonwealth Bank, said: “The drought is not only impacting our farmers and their businesses, it’s also affecting their families and the communities in which they live. More and more families who live in remote or regional areas are finding it difficult to travel to school, purchase school resources or fulfil school fees. A good education can set kids up for life and the support and opportunities BCEF provides to these families is invaluable, that’s why we are donating $100,000 to the Foundation.”
BCEF Chairman, Richard Dougan, said: “This is one of the worst droughts we’ve ever experienced and many families are suffering extreme financial hardship. The inability to provide a great educational experience for your children is truly upsetting for many parents, not to mention the repercussions it can cause for them.
“Our work depends on the tremendous support that we receive from our benefactors, donors and supporters like the Commonwealth Bank. Their generous donation will help up to 40 young people across New South Wales with their education.”
Families can apply for assistance by visiting the BCEF website at www.bcef.org.au.