Five local organisations across Tumut, Talbingo and Batlow have been the recipients of bushfire recovery grants offered by the Commonwealth Bank, the initiative seeing the bank invest more than $160,000 into the region.
With the ambition to aid long-term recovery and part of the bank’s broader bushfire appeal, the CommBank Bushfire Recovery Grants are awarded to help local organisations rebuild and revive their facilities, infrastructure and services, so they may continue to operate and support their community.
McAuley Catholic Central School was one such organisation that received funding through the scheme. They were granted $35,640 to refurbish their high-school exterior basketball courts.
Principal Eamonn Moore said he first wrote a submission in February, and that throughout the process the bank has been “so supportive.”
“That area (basketball courts) and our school hall was used by volunteer organisations over January during the fires, so I was able to explain to the Commonwealth Bank that having that area renovated would not only be great for our kids, but for the community as well.”
Mr Moore said that the resurfacing work is due to happen any day now. It was originally scheduled to happen last week, but the contractors were caught up with another job.
“It’s very exciting for us all,” he said.
“Just a great resource, not only for us but the town as well.”
He added that overall, students have had a boost over the last few weeks with returning to full-time school.
“Routine’s comfortable for all of us, especially the bushfire kids who had a rocky start anyway to then be kind of ripped away from school, it’s just great for them to be back,” he said.
Other organisations that received funding through the Commonwealth Bank’s grant include:
• Batlow Apple Tree Learning Centre, who received $43,700 to be invested in the playground and gardens as well as to remove trees that were badly damaged and are now unsafe.
• Talbingo Public School Parents & Citizens Association, which received $40,000 to rebuild their playground area including re-turfing the maze, building a running track, and replacing sections of its outdoor classroom.
• Batlow Technology School Parents & Citizens Association, which received $36,000 to help fund future well-being excursions for students, teachers and supervisors.
• Tumut Mountain Biking Inc, which received $5843 to purchase furniture, tables and chairs to support the success of future community events.
Nathan Barker, Head of Community Investment at Commonwealth Bank, said that “while the immediate danger of the bushfires has diminished, it’s by no means over for those affected.
“They now face the tough task of rebuilding their communities, a task that hasn’t been made any easier with the impact of coronavirus.
“We’re proud to be able to provide real support to our local community, and know that these grants will go a long way to making sure these businesses are ready to reopen their doors in the near future. After what has been a challenging six months for many, we’d like to encourage other organisations in a similar position to come forward and apply for the grant.”
CommBank has committed to awarding up to $10 million to bushfire affected organisations through its Bushfire Recovery Grants Program. Grants are being awarded until June 30 this month.
Local organisations affected by fire across the Snowy Valleys are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit their website.