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Taking art therapy to the disadvantaged and changing lives

Creating art has become a popular form of therapy used to reduce stress and facilitate those with emotional issues or disabilities with a way to express themselves in constructive ways.

The Goulburn Regional Art Gallery has a long history of providing access programs off-site and their Community Outreach Workshops have been a way to take their art therapy to schools and facilities for people with higher needs. “Our project provides an important opportunity for our identified target audience to access the Gallery’s programs,” says Sally O’Neill, the Gallery’s Education Officer. “Our groups have been selected because of their difficulty in accessing the Gallery. Through consultation with staff at each facility, we have identified that engagement with art-making holds great potential for improved mental wellbeing for the groups.”

The workshops also provide a way for marginalised individuals to build a sense of community. “Art brings people together, both literally and figuratively,” says Sally. “Our workshops are a social environment where participants can chat about their day, the art they are making as well as providing an opportunity to express themselves and learn a new skill. The people we work with are on the outer of the community and we see our workshops and project as a way back in.”

Goulburn Regional Art Gallery has received funding from the IMB Bank Community Foundation in 2009, 2011, 2017 and 2018. “The Community Outreach Workshops, although integral to the Gallery program, cannot be fully funded by the current Gallery budget,” says Sally. “The ICF funding was vital in delivering the project in its full capacity.”

Sally has had the opportunity to witness the positive effect of the program up-close. “The most important achievement has been the observed differences we were able to make in the lives of people we worked with,” she says. “A man with Parkinson’s disease remarked in a workshop that he was able to hold his coffee mug in one hand for the first time in months. A woman so anxious she was in tears left an hour-and-a-half later singing with a smile on her face. Participants taking up ‘art-making’ in their spare time and sharing their achievements. They may be small differences in the big scheme of things, but it’s really heartwarming to know that we have made such an impact on the quality of life for the people we work with.”


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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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