A program that has allowed aged care residents to visit, and bond with primary school students in the Highlands could expand thanks to a grant.
The Southern Highlands Foundation joined with Harbison, and applied for a Foundation for Rural, Regional and Renewal (FRRR) grant for Harbison's Grand Friend's Program.
The program has given residents the opportunity to connect and bond with students at Oxley College.
"It was the first time we made a collective application on the behalf of a group, and it has been successful," said Southern Highlands Foundation chair Shelley Boyce OAM.
Harbison's partnership manager Zac Hulm said it was a "community-focused program that had the opportunity to be expanded."
"It was a collaborative effort with the Southern Highlands Foundation, and we were very grateful," he said.
"We could go out to public schools and spread the program, or parts of program through the Southern Highlands.
"The benefits of establishing intergenerational relationships have been phenomenal.
"Children and their families have become involved, and welcomed the Grand Friends into their families."
Mr Hulm explained that students and residents have written letters and sent stuff to one another throughout lockdown.
Grand Friends have also received videos their young buddies during lockdown.
Mrs Boyce OAM agreed that the program would benefit many across the region, and the grant would be distributed when needed.
"It was really nice to work with another company to facilitate the program for people who have been shut in because of COVID."
"We have worked with aged care, and it has been the opportunity to do something impactful and engaging for communities," Mrs Boyce OAM said.
The Southern Highlands Foundation has provided over $1 million in grants and scholarships to communities across the region since it was established in 2002.
While lockdown presented new challenges, it did not stop the foundation from distributing $400,000 to families and community projects in need last year.
The foundation has also assisted wildlife centres and other organisations impacted by the devastating bushfires, and partnered with organisations to help residents rebuild afterwards.
Programs are dedicated to supporting people in rural, regional and remote communities with their mental health and wellbeing.
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