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Bendigo Bank and The Salvation Army provide $4 million to assist young people in fire impacted regions

14 September 2020 |Announcements

Bendigo Bank has provided $2 million of its National Bushfire Disaster Appeal fund - conducted by the Bank’s charitable arm, Community Enterprise Foundation - to The Salvation Army, to help it establish a new Youth Education and Workplace Pathways Grants program for young people in bushfire affected communities across Australia.

The Salvation Army has also matched the funding provided by the Bank’s National Bushfire Disaster Appeal, by injecting up to $2 million of its own public disaster appeal funds into the delivery of the new grants program nationwide.

The Youth Education and Workplace Pathways Grants program will focus on assisting 15 to 25-year-olds in fire impacted communities by awarding $3,000 cash grants to support their educational development and further their future workplace aspirations.

Eligible recipients who meet the grant application criteria can use these cash grants to cover:

  • Out of pocket expenses for Government courses, TAFE programs, transition courses or other identified educational programs.
  • The purchase of study related or employment related materials such as laptops, books or tools.
  • Transport costs to and from employment, the purchase of safety equipment for courses, or personal needs for improving employment interview presentation.

Alexandra Gartmann, Executive Corporate Affairs, Bendigo Bank, said the formation of the new Youth Education and Workplace Pathways Grants program will allow eligible young people affected by the devastating summer fires to access financial support quickly and easily, so as to ensure their education and personal development can continue.

“The creation of this new grants program is another important stepping-stone in the long-term recovery of those individuals and their communities devastated by the summer fires. We are fully committed to giving a hand up to all those touched by the destruction and to ensuring the success and prosperity of all Australian communities,” Ms Gartmann said.

“The Bank’s purpose is to feed into community prosperity, not off it. Since 2007, our Scholarship Program has provided more than $9.3 million in educational support to almost 1,000 tertiary students in what is now one of Australia’s largest privately funded and best targeted regional scholarship initiatives. This is further complemented by the more than $250 million returned to communities since 1998 through the Community Bank model for community-led strengthening initiatives.

“The establishment of the new Youth Education and Workplace Pathways Grants program is firmly in line with this commitment.

“We know - based on lived experience - short-term support is important however, we also know dedicated support in the months and years to come is just as vital. Continuity of effort is crucial, and we hope this new $4 million initiative will help more than 1,300 younger people in bushfire ravaged areas get back on their feet and refocus on their learning and career ambitions.”

Lt-Colonel Neil Venables, Secretary for Communications, The Salvation Army, said it is pleased to be working in partnership with Bendigo Bank on this exciting new initiative for bushfire affected young people.

“Such a creative and educational grant scheme taps into the physiological recovery needs of those who have experienced significant trauma. It transitions people from the immediate into a long-term foundation of new opportunities.

“The Salvation Army encourages any young person affected by last summer’s bushfires to apply for one of these grants to help improve their study and future work prospects,” Mr Venables said.

To date, Bendigo Bank’s national and state-based bushfire appeals have raised more than $46 million to help those affected by the Black Summer bushfires.

Almost half the funds raised by more than 145,000 generous donors have already been made available and distributed to a range of organisations working with local communities in their recovery, including:

  • The Salvation Army
  • The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund
  • BlazeAid
  • Goolwa Surf Lifesaving Club Inc
  • Windermere Child & Family Services
  • The Man From Snowy River Festival
  • Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency Co-Op
  • Moogji Aboriginal Council East Gippsland Inc
  • Gippsland & East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-Op
  • Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare
  • Gateway Health
  • Centre Against Violence
  • Gippsland Lakes Complete Health

For updates on where and how Appeal donations are assisting the recovery process on the ground and for examples of donations at work in bushfire affected communities, please visit Bendigo Bank’s Disaster recovery page.

For more information on the Bendigo Bank and The Salvation Army Youth Education and Workplace Pathways Grants program, please visit The Salvation Army website.

Grant applications are now open. To apply for a grant, please contact The Salvation Army’s bushfire disaster team on 1300 662 217 or by email. 

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