It's late on a Tuesday morning and the Bowral Men's Shed is slowly filling up with the nearly 70 men that call this place their shed away from home. Friendly chatter is interspersed with the sound of carpentry tools. For these men, many of whom are retired professionals, being able to undertake projects and learn new skills has been a saving grace in their transition out of fast-paced corporate lives.
Thanks to a partnership with the IMB Bank Community Foundation (ICF), the Men's Shed continues to be an important hub for many in the region. This year, the program was recognised with a Spotlight Project award as one of the best ICF-supported initiatives over the past 20 years.
Other community groups and charities in the Southern Highlands now have the opportunity to apply for the 2020 funding program, worth $600,000.
Now in its 21st year, the ICF looks to build on the $10 million-plus it has donated to charities and community groups across NSW and the ACT since 1999. A key focus will be projects which demonstrate tangible benefits for communities in the years to come.
IMB bank CEO Robert Ryan said the community foundation was all about building strong, resilient, and forward- focused communities.
"As a customer owned bank, we understand that the key to unlocking community potential can sometimes be simply a matter of combining a great idea and vision with financial support," he said.
Mr Ryan urged all community groups, not-for-profit organisations, and charities in the Southern Highlands to consider applying.
"Bowral Men's Shed is just one great example of a community group in the Southern Highlands making a real difference," he said.
IMB Bank's Community Foundation has a history of community engagement and improvement. Projects have ranged from the establishment of recycling programs and Men's Sheds, through to public walkways, school gardens, youth driver training, mental health first aid training, equipment for volunteer rescue services and increased security for victims of domestic violence. In the Southern Highlands there are many other community groups supported by ICF:
- Teeniors is fostering reciprocity between teenagers and seniors.
- U Turn the Wheel is bringing their driver safety program to approximately 600 local high school students.
"Every year the ICF committee is amazed by the achievements of hard-working individuals within the community - the 'feel good' factor is tangible," Mr Ryan said.
Applications close on February 28, 2020. Visit www.imb.com.au/community to apply.