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In the 18 years since the IMB Bank Community Foundation was established, thousands of people who live and work in the communities IMB Bank serves have benefited from $8.6m in funding to 600 local projects.

At today’s announcement of the 2017 recipients attended by Foundation Chair, Ms Jan Swinhoe, the Member for Kiama, the Hon Gareth Ward, IMB Bank CEO Robert Ryan, the Lord Mayor of Wollongong Gordon Bradbury, Member for Keira Ryan Park and Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson, the CEO reflected on the number of people helped in some way by the 600 initiatives the Foundation had supported.

“Our goal at IMB Bank is to make our members and our communities better off and it’s wonderful and humbling to see so many organisations and initiatives making a real difference in the lives of people in our local communities. We’re proud that our Foundation improves the sustainability of so many projects that support our communities,” Mr Ryan said.

At the event, Mr Ryan announced another $500,000 commitment to 50 projects including the installation of defibrillators at sports grounds across Illawarra and funding for The Shepherd Centre to provide support programs to partially deaf children and their families.

The Foundation has also pledged support for Family Services Illawarra with funding to implement its Stay Home Leaving Violence program. This will be delivered in conjunction with the NSW Police and Housing NSW to support local women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

IMB Bank Community Foundation Chair, Ms Jan Swinhoe, commended the recipients and thanked them for their dedication.

“Many of these worthwhile projects would not be able to operate without a small army of volunteers who are willing to give up their time and skills to help others,” Ms Swinhoe said.

“I congratulate you and, on behalf of the entire Illawarra community, I recognise and applaud your hard work and selfless commitment.”

Ms Swinhoe said the Foundation had received more than 250 applications and the selection process was always tough for the committee.

“We look for projects that will become self-sustainable, in the long term, and will provide services for a wide range of community interests,” she said.

“The committee works with people from each project to learn more about them before they are funded and we continue to be amazed and inspired.”

Member for Kiama the Hon Gareth Ward said the funding for the local projects represented t a significant investment into the Illawarra, South Coast and Southern Highlands.

“It is fantastic to see so many volunteers united together, working selflessly to help others less fortunate in our community,” Mr Ward said.



Break Free Café Beautification
PCYC Wollongong

Established in 2014, the BreakFree Café provides learning and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth, young offenders and youth at risk. The Beautification project will expand the café’s current barista and safe food training to incorporate building, construction and horticulture.

Community Volunteering Project
Wollongong UOW Pulse Ltd

Connecting students with projects needing volunteers is at the heart of the Community Volunteering Project. Through this project, around 50 students from UOW provide much needed volunteer resources to up to five community projects.

Covered Work Area
Churches of Christ Community Care

The Kanahooka Men’s Shed is an active part of the local community, providing woodworking skills to projects for local schools and service clubs among others. The Men’s Shed will install a covered area to double their woodworking space and allow them to support more community projects.

Defibrillator Funding
Football South Coast Ltd

Without treatment, a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival decrease by 10% per minute. With current response rates at 8-11 minutes, Football South Coast are aiming to have a Defibrillator at every sporting ground in the Illawarra with the purchase of 38 defibrillators and training in their use.

Growing Jobs and Fair Food
Green Connect Illawarra

In the last financial year, Green Connect employed and supported 114 refugees and young people. They grew and distributed 7,268kg of local, chemical free food and kept 1,462 tonnes of waste out of landfill. Green connect now plans to extend their Urban Farm by another 4,000 square metres with the aim to increase food production, employment opportunities and their connection with the community.

Halfway Hear
The Shepherd Centre

Children with partial hearing loss can be ineligible for government support. The Shepherd Centre aims to bridge this gap by providing early intervention support programs to partially deaf children and their families. The program provides education, assessments, therapy and support across online and face-to-face sessions.

High School Mental Health Intervention
Rotary Club of Kiama

Kiama Rotary have more than 10 years’ experience providing Mental Health First Aid courses to the community. This project extends the program to students of Kiama High School and aims to give both teachers and students additional tools to support ongoing efforts for student wellbeing and welfare.

Life Education Illawarra Truck
Illawarra Drug Awareness Group Ltd

Life Education’s delivers educational programs on site at various primary and pre-schools throughout the Illawarra. The Life Education Truck is a mobile classroom where students learn about making the best choices for a safe and healthy life.

Music Education through African Drumming
Jamberoo Public School P&C Association

How do you manage a school band when you have a small school? Take up African drumming! Jamberoo Public School’s innovative approach to the school band delivers in-school drumming lessons to all students. Extra Djembe drums will provide all students the opportunity to be involved.

Need a Feed
NZ House NSW

Need a Feed partners with several organisations to identify and connect with local families who are struggling or who are in need. Need a Feed assist with emergency relief to these families by providing one of life’s basics… food.

Roger Soden Scholarship Year 5
Wollongong Conservatorium of Music

The Roger Soden Scholarship provides funding for a student at the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music.

Sensory Garden
Fairy Meadow Demonstration School

Imagine a special place where your sense can come alive. Welcome to the Fairy Meadow Demonstration School Sensory Garden. Aromatic plants and flowers as well as playground equipment including a special swing, trampolines, and a slippery dip and tunnel, will make this garden a great teaching and learning space for children at FMDS.

Soft Play Equipment
Illawarra Sports Stadium

The Illawarra Sports Stadium is providing a new venue for Mums and their pre-schoolers. Soft play equipment provides a safe, fun place for pre-schoolers to enhance their gross and fine motor skills; while giving mums a chance to establish social and support networks by connecting with each other.

Staying Home Leaving Violence
Family Services Illawarra

One in six Australian women and one in twenty Australian men, 15 years and older, have experienced violence at the hands of a partner. Staying Home Leaving Violence provides residential security upgrades to enable women and children who are victims of domestic violence to remain in their own homes.

Students and Seniors Get Appy
Illawarra Sports High School

Students and seniors get together for this great program aimed at teaching seniors how to use iPads. Seniors learn how to face-time, use apps and to engage using social media. Student Tech Leaders are paired with a Tech Senior for fortnightly lessons. Funding will enable purchase of new equipment to support the program.

U&Me Online Documentary Series
Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra Inc.

Taking steps to reduce racism and to increase positive intercultural interaction between members of the Wollongong Community, U&Me is the celebration of stories about friendships between people from diverse cultural backgrounds. U&Me plan to tell four new stories over four new documentaries.

South Coast

Accessible Barbecue Pavilion
Friends of Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens

An increasing number of people are visiting the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens, with more than 65,000 visitors expected this year. Current access is difficult for visitors with limited mobility. The Accessible Barbecue Pavilion will provide undercover seating for 40-50 people and access to two free electric barbecues.

Birdcall Newsreel DVD
Merimbula-Imlay Historical Society

In the 1953 to 1962, a team of bird callers from bush schools in the Far South Coast of NSW, won the State Birdcall Championships 6 times. The Merimbula–Imlay Historical Society wants to recreate some of that magic with a DVD showcasing newsreel footage from the original competitions. 

Fire Appliance Upgrade
Dalmeny Rural Fire Brigade

There is no question that firefighting is labour intensive. The Dalmeny Rural Fire Brigade plans to combat operational fatigue and improve efficiencies with the installation of electric hose reels. Firefighters can deploy a 60m long live reel in 8-10 minutes using electric hose reels.

Fire Ground Radios
Wolumla Rural Fire Brigade

In a fire event, clear communication between firefighting crews is essential. New VHF Fire Ground Radios provide designated frequencies for firefighters to use, allowing better and more efficient communication that is free of interference.

Fresh Veggies for Everyone

Everyone can benefit from a backyard veggie garden, but not everyone has the means or the expertise. This project aims to tackle that issue with low cost workshops and free installation of ready to go backyard veggie gardens for low-income earners. SAGE also provide ongoing support in management of veggie gardens.

Metal Workshop Sand Blaster Purchase
Narooma Men’s Shed

Using existing skills and developing new ones is a big part of the Narooma Men’s Shed. With a 300% increase in requests for metalwork from various local groups, the Men’s Shed plans to install a sand blaster cabinet to enable a safe, efficient environment to broaden their metalwork area capabilities.

Rescue Wharf Repair
Volunteer Marine Rescue NSW

The boating community across the state rely on the efforts of the Marine Rescue NSW volunteers. The Tuross Marine Rescue unit will upgrade their 30 year old decking to allow Marine Rescue Vessels to be ready for quick response to anyone in need.

Rotary Youth Driver Awareness
Rotary Club of Bega

Targeting young people about to apply for their drivers licence, the Rotary Youth Driver Awareness program aims to increase young driver awareness about their safety on the road. Over six modules, year 11 students learn about hazard perception, vehicle braking & design and the impact of their choices.

Signage for Plants of WA
Friends of the Curtis Park Arboretum Inc.

Curtis Park Arboretum displays an increasing range of Australian native plants, providing an inspiring and educational space for people to see and learn about our natural fauna. The Arboretum recently introduced West Australian plants. Signage of these plants will provide botanical and general information about these plants that are rarely seen this side of the Nullarbor Plain.

The Big Freezer
Bega Valley Meals on Wheels

Every year more than 200 volunteers from Bega Valley Meals on Wheels provide over 24,000 nutritious meals to people unable to leave their houses. The purchase of new freestanding upright freezers and upgrades to electrical work (including installation of an emergency generator) will allow for increased food safety and distribution.

Fun and Fresh
Noah’s Ark Centre of Shoalhaven Inc.

Fun and Fresh addresses many needs for the 800 children and young people supported by Noah’s Inclusion Services. An educational chicken and vegetable area aims to improve children’s health, wellbeing and skill development through experience, therapy and education.

Southern Highlands

Bandsaw Replacement
Bowral Men’s Shed

Comprising 70 members, the Bowral Men’s Shed provides companionship, support, education and assistance for its members. It also supports individuals and groups in the local community. The purchase of a new Bandsaw will increase woodworking capability, safety and efficiency, and enable more members to learn a new skillset.

Gateway to the Garden
Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens Ltd

It is well documented that gardening is therapeutic with mental, physical and social health benefits; and the Southern Highlands Botanic Garden is designed to cater for all members of the community. The Gateway to the Garden will be built from locally sourced Basalt and will provide a clear and welcoming entrance to the Gardens.

U Turn the Wheel
Rotary Club of Moss Vale

16-25 year old drivers have a crash risk 8 – 10 times higher than experienced drivers. In conjunction with the Road Safety Office, schools, police and emergency services, U Turn the Wheel provides free workshops for year 11 students regarding Attitude and Awareness of driver related issues like speed, fatigue, alcohol, drugs and the use of seat belts. 


Buxton Hall Kitchen Refurbishment
Buxton Community Association

Built in 1947, the Buxton Community Hall provides a space for various community groups in Buxton and Picton. This kitchen refurbishment will replace the original kitchen with a modern, safe and functional kitchen that is able to support more community activities.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library
Macarthur Sunrise Rotary Club Inc.

Directed to low socio-economic and disadvantaged communities, The Imagination Library addresses and nurtures early childhood literacy. Every month, registered children up to 5 years old, receive a specially chosen book, giving literacy support to children who may not have the opportunity to access it.

First Aid Trailer
St John’s Ambulance NSW

St John’s will purchase a CUB Kakadu off road camper trailer to provide first aid treatment in a wide variety of situations. The camper trailer, which will replace an older model, will provide vital emergency equipment including Oxygen, Defibrillators, Analgesics and hot water and cooling facilities for treatment of patients.

Heart Health Check Booth
Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

90% of Australians have a least one modifiable risk factor for heart disease. The Heart Health Check Booth provides free testing of modifiable risk factors including high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Convenient and quick tests aim to help people understand results and take steps to better heart health.

Hydrating Firefighters
Lynwood Park Rural Fire Brigade

Bravo 1, housed at Lynwood Park RFS Brigade Station, is Macarthur Zone’s spare fire truck. Bravo 1 replaces firetrucks undergoing maintenance or deployed elsewhere right across the zone. Bravo 1 is set to get a fridge to enable firefighting crews and the general community access to essential cold water in extreme conditions.

Kinder Care
Teddy Bear Cottage

Kinder M8 software allows teachers to keep parents in touch with their pre-schooler’s day. Teddy Bear Cottage will install this software enabling faster, more efficient communication with parents, leaving staff more time to provide quality care.

Lyrics of Liverpool
PCYC Liverpool

Lyrics of Liverpool is a 10 week program that blends life-skill workshops on topics including bullying, self-esteem and anger management with creative expression, song writing and musical skills development. The program aims to reach at least 60 young children in Liverpool.

Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Project
Mark Grundy Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Group Inc.

Oesophageal cancer is a lesser-known cancer, but has experienced rapid growth in prevalence and diagnosis in recent years. This project aims to increase awareness in the GP and general community, enabling people to identify early symptoms and warning signs.

Safety and Exposure
Disabled Surfing Association

Over 24 years the South Coast Disabled Surfers Association has engaged 3,700 disabled participants and 14,600 volunteers. Over three ‘Hands-On Days’ across the Illawarra and South Coast each summer, participants get a real surf experience catching waves on a soft surfboard. DSA uses colour-coded rash vests to ensure high safety standards at each event. Funding will allow for the replacement of rash vests and the purchase of two large tents.

ACT & Goulburn

Belconnen Swim & Survive
Royal Life Savings Society

Children who know how to swim and behave safely around water are at a reduced risk of drowning. Not all Australian children have access to the learn-to-swim programs that provide this knowledge. The Swim & Survive project delivers 10 free lessons to children who have missed a formal water safety education, and teaches vital skills like floating, sculling and breath control exercises.  

Cows Create Careers
Lions Club of Strzelecki

Hand on learning at its best. Students learn about the dairy industry while caring for dairy calves on loan from local farmers. Cows Create Careers connects farmers and students and provides opportunities for students to learn about opportunities within the industry.

Disability Outreach Workshops
Goulburn Regional Art Gallery

The Goulburn Regional Art Gallery aims to ensure that its programs and activities are available to everyone in the local community. Disability Outreach Workshops provide up to 72 art workshops at three facilities across Goulburn, allowing those with a disability or mobility restraints important access to creative activities.

Improving Men’s Mental Health
Belconnen Baptist Church Inc.

Mental Health is an issue affecting many Australians. The Belconnen Community Men’s Shed aims to improve the mental health of its members and the wider community by providing training in how to recognise and treat mental illness.

U Turn the Wheel
Rotary Club of Goulburn Inc.

Land P plate drivers have access, through their local school, to interactive sessions with police and ambulance personnel, brain injury professionals and patients, and drug and alcohol awareness experts with the aim to reduce youth involvement in road trauma.

Who Did That Trail Extension
Australian National Botanic Gardens

The Australian National Botanic Gardens ‘Who Did That Trail’ is getting an extension. Work is currently underway on a Treehouse Gazebo at the gardens, this project will extend an existing children’s trail to encompass the new addition. The trail will feature hands-on activities and model animals encouraging learning through play in the great outdoors.