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Annette and Dean Turner of The Crossing Land Education Centre are #ICF20Years Community Heroes

The Crossing is the kind of place that is inspirational in every way. For 21 years, on a beautiful patch of NSW’s Wilderness Coast by the Bermagui River, Annette and Dean Turner have been teaching young people from around the globe how to live sustainable lives.

“We arrived with an idea to create a place where young people could experience a sustainable way of life that was transferable to their everyday and that included inspiring journeys in beautiful natural places and meaningful practical conservation work,” says Annette Turner.

The ICF has supplied The Crossing grant funding on several projects since 2001, including the conversion of a 1930s Red Rattler train carriage into a bunkhouse (“a beautiful example of reusing and repurposing”), a roof to the Community Hall, and a sustainable food curriculum for older secondary students. The Turners were named IMB Bank Community Foundation Community Heroes in 2019, as part of the ICF’s 20th anniversary celebration.

“There are so few organisations willing to provide financial assistance for capital works and the ICF helped The Crossing at some critical moments,” says Annette Turner. “Our relationship with ICF felt like a partnership. It gave other donors confidence to support the construction of The Crossing.”

The Turners set The Crossing up as a not-for-profit trust, gifting the land in 2006 “so that the project would continue long after us.” It’s the kind of generosity of spirit that inspires the young people who participate in The Crossing’s programs.

“Over the last 20 years, young people on programs at the Crossing have surveyed hundreds of hectares of bush to learn more about the South East koalas and they have surprised scientists with some new discoveries,” says Ms Turner. “They have planted over 18,200 trees to create a river habitat corridor between two coastal National Parks, and protected the quality of the Bermagui River at the same time. They have physically built a great deal of The Crossing camp, particularly its extensive gardens and water treatment systems. And they have travelled on some amazing journeys, experiencing different landscapes and land management practices.”

For the Turners, The Crossing is designed as an example for another way of living because, as Ms Turner says, “There is only one Earth. What the community needs to grow and thrive is positive and open communication, and future thinking with support to make mistakes in design so you can learn how to innovate. Innovation will move communities towards a circular economy where everything is designed so well that it can be reused or provide the nutrients or materials for something else. This becomes a new definition for growing and thriving.”

Find out more about The Crossing, including its Youth Camps, School Programs and Airbnb accommodation

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Helping build and strengthen our local communities since 1999

As a mutual bank, supporting our local communities is important to us. We believe in supporting projects that foster inclusion, encourage volunteering and create sustainable outcomes, enabling the communities around us to thrive.

Over the last 20 years, The IMB Bank Community Foundation has invested over $10 million to support over 700 community projects. We’re very proud of the projects we’ve supported and each year we marvel at the wonderful achievements of our funding recipients.

These diverse and meaningful grassroots programs are found wherever IMB Bank operates — Sydney, The Hunter, The Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Far South Coast NSW.

Previous funding recipients

Farmborough Heights Rural Fire Brigade

A thermal imaging camera will enable The Farmborough Heights Rural Fire Brigade’s volunteer members to fully interpret a fire scene providing accurate situational awareness both day and night. It will also assist in search and rescue operations at any time and in any light conditions.

Giralang/Kaleen Men's Shed

The Giralang/Kaleen Men's Shed offers all men access to a range of activities including a woodworking workshop, garden, physical activity such as walking, and social interaction. Members will be trained in first aid to support shed members if needed.

Girl Guides Association of NSW

Building on a century of adventure, fun and friendship, Girl Guides empowers girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members. The project will allow Girl Guides to offer abseiling, high ropes and rock-climbing experiences in the local region providing opportunities for the girls to grow, learn and have fun in the outdoors.

See all recipients


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Established in 1880, we have been helping people achieve their financial goals for 140 years and are rated by Forbes as one of the World’s Best Banks. We offer a full range of competitive banking, including home and personal lending, savings and transaction accounts, term deposits, business banking, and can arrange financial planning, insurance and travel products.

We provide simple and secure digital banking solutions online and on mobile, and members enjoy access to free automated phone and internet banking, and a team of professionals at our locally based contact centre. With a growing branch network throughout the Illawarra, Sydney, NSW South Coast, Newcastle/Hunter, the ACT and Melbourne, we have a lending specialist in every branch and a team of mobile lending specialists who will come to you.

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