27 October 2023

Community groups applaud grant program that sees them $1000 richer

| Vanessa Hayden
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Four people smiling

Albury Wodonga Animal Rescue’s Rae Smith and Lorraine Webb and Dunroamin Animal Rescue’s Diane and Allan Ingrey were two of 18 groups to receive an unexpected community grant at a presentation night at Bendigo Bank. Photo: AWCC.

There were smiles all round when 18 lucky community organisations were chosen to receive $1000 each in grant funding from Albury Wodonga Connected Communities (AWCC) this month.

The presentation evening was held at Wodonga’s Bendigo Bank and the non-profit organisations to benefit included animal welfare, quilting, historical, mental health support, bushwalking, horticulture and theatre groups.

AWCC chairperson Allison Bruce said she was in awe of all the wonderful work being done by volunteers and community groups in the room after hearing each recipient talk about their operation’s purpose and objectives.

AWCC generally holds two grant rounds a year in which organisations submit applications which are reviewed, but this time she said they decided to do things a little differently.

“We thought it would be good to target smaller organisations which might struggle to raise funds.

“So, we put our collective heads together and came up with a list of groups who we know are making a big difference in the community, whether that is by bringing people together, helping others or educating our community.”

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She said most of the groups were surprised when they received the call “out of the blue” to tell them about their incoming donation.

“It’s not often you get a call from someone offering to give you money without there being a catch!”

AWCC was established in January 2017 and so far has granted a total of $286,000 to community groups in Albury Wodonga.

Some of their past grant recipients have included Albury Wodonga Regional Food Share, Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service, Albury Women’s Shed, Boys to the Bush, PCYC, Restart Albury Wodonga, the SES, Belvoir Special School, Fight Cancer Foundation and countless sporting and recreational clubs.

“It can be really hard to choose between the applicants because we get so many high-quality applications,” said Allison.

“It always blows our minds to learn about the great things people are doing in our community.

“This time, we decided we wanted everyone to be a winner and to relieve ourselves from the pressure of having to choose!”

AWCC is a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee and through an agreement with the Bendigo Bank they receive a monthly income stream from them.

A group of eight people standing in front of promotional banners

The AWCC’s passionate board: David Baird, Vanessa Dale, Simon Morris, Allison Bruce, Anthony Nicholson, David Clark, Kate Morey and Phil Hartley. Photo: AWCC.

“How it works is that a customer tags their account to AWCC and then the bank pays us a set amount of commission from its profit. Most importantly, this is at no cost to the customer,” said Allison.

“Without that income from the Bendigo Bank and without that funding, we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

“We have a board of nine directors who are all passionate about supporting our local community.”

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Volunteer Diane Ingrey from Dunroamin Animal Rescue said donations like this made a big difference as there was a never-ending stream of expenses involved in animal care.

Like many in the room on the night, she said the ability to be able to receive a grant without having to go through the often rigorous process of writing a submission was a blessing.

“It is particularly tough at the moment and we have an incredibly high number of animals constantly coming into our care so money like this will go a long way in keeping them warm, fed and alive.

“Donated dollars are also very important for our desexing program as if we can stop the breeding we can stop the cycle,” said Diane.

Recipients on the night were:

  • Make Me Mobile
  • Albury Wodonga Motorcycle Club
  • Albury Horticultural Society
  • Youth Albury Wodonga
  • Parklands Albury Wodonga
  • Thurgoona Men’s Shed
  • Murray River Quilters
  • North East Eating Disorder Support Group
  • Murray Valley Bushwalkers
  • Tots 2 Teens
  • Byte Size Productions
  • Congolese Cultural School
  • Dunroamin Animal Rescue
  • Albury Wodonga Repair Cafe
  • Jindera Pioneer Museum
  • Albury and District Historical Society
  • Wodonga and District Historical Society
  • Albury Wodonga Animal Rescue

You can find out more about the AWCC program here.

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