Author: Anne Long

A Year in Review with the Greater Charitable Foundation

The Greater has a proud and long history of giving back to the community in which we live and work and our Charitable Foundation is continuing that tradition by providing support to families and communities throughout our business footprint.

In 2013, nine charities were funded to undertake activities including: furthering medical research; taking music to disadvantaged school communities; providing services to families as they face chronic illness, autism, cerebral palsy and life-limiting conditions; and supporting survivors of child abuse. More than 160 Greater Building Society staff volunteered their time to help deliver these programs and come face-to-face with the causes and their clients.

Our nine charity partners all enjoyed fantastic success in 2013:

Australian Children’s Music Foundation

The Australian Children’s Music Foundation (ACMF) was a new partner for the Foundation in 2013. With our funding, ACMF were able to offer their Taree Free Education Music Program in three different schools in the Manning community. Without our funding, these schools, like 75% of other Australian public schools, would not have been able to afford specialist music programs or equipment.

Autism Spectrum Australia

In 2013, the Foundation continued to fund Autism Spectrum Australia’s Early Intervention Readiness Program (EIRP) to assist families in navigating the challenges they are faced with after their child’s diagnosis with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since the establishment of the program, over 138 families have been helped by the EIRP program, and more than 20 families have attended the EIRP open playgroup at the Hunter Aspect School in Thornton.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance

The Greater Charitable Foundation continued to fund the Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s Emerge and Ignition Mentoring Programs as well as the ‘So What’ Youth Support and Social Group in 2013. Funding was also provided for additional programs, including Ignition Lite, which was a shortened version of the Ignition program aimed at encouraging young people with Cerebral Palsy (CP) to sign up for the full Ignition program the following year. This was successful with 8 young participants coming back to partake in the full program in 2014. The Foundation also funded the first ever Newcastle-based Gym Program that provided exercise options for young people with CP to help increase their energy levels and functional strength.

Heal For Life Foundation

In 2013, the Foundation provided funding to Heal For Life for their Eva House healing program targeted at young women aged 16-25 years seeking to recover from childhood trauma and abuse. Up to 36 young women were able to participate in the program.

Hunter Institute of Mental Health

2013 was a big year for the Hunter Institute of Mental Health (HIMH). The Child Illness and Resilience Program (CHiRP) funded by the Foundation was rolled out in the outpatient clinics at John Hunter Children’s Hospital. The finalisation of the Family Resilience and Wellbeing Booklet saw the dissemination phase begin in the Hunter New England local health district and stakeholder meetings were held with more than 80 John Hunter Hospital staff to gain some input and buy-in from the service provider. To date, over 5000 families discharged from the John Hunter Children’s Hospital have been provided with resilience advice and about 150 families have received the full booklet resource. Of these families, a third are expected to take part in further support implementations.

Hunter Medical Research Institute

During 2013, our funding to HMRI supported two separate streams of health and medical research - the TASTE trial, which is a multi-centre international trial of clot-busting medication Tenecteplase which has been shown to greatly improve the stroke recovery process; and the AREISSA trial, which was testing the influence of environmental enrichment on stroke recovery in humans. Both of these trials were pioneered in the Hunter and are expected to establish a new standard of stroke care treatment worldwide!

KidzWish Foundation

The Foundation continued to fund the KidzSpeak Program in 2013, providing economically and socially disadvantaged kids aged 4 and under with communication skills. Since 2011, KidzSpeak has helped more than 400 kids across 13 centres in the Illawarra region.

Starlight Children’s Foundation

The Foundation continued to fund the Starlight Express Room Program at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Regional Connection Ward Visits and Wishgranting Program in 2013. Thanks to funding from the Foundation, Captain Starlight now makes regular visits to hospitals in Maitland, Gosford, Armidale, Tamworth, Lismore and the Gold Coast. The Foundation funding also granted a total of 12 Starlight Wishes throughout NSW and South East Queensland in 2013.

The Foundation’s Mission - to provide opportunities for people to improve their life outcomes - was chosen because it is realistic and achievable. Change is occurring and lives are improving. In 2014, we will continue to support a range of organisations to deliver their unique responses to social issues and we look forward to sharing the journey with you.

The Greater Charitable Foundation will soon be announcing the outcome of the 2013 funding round - check out the Foundation's website for further news.

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