National Centre for Childhood Grief (NCCG) is the only organization of its type in Australia that provides free, unlimited counselling to bereaved children. Greater Charitable Foundation funding supported an intensive workshop on ‘Children’s Grief’ for 24 school counsellors in the Hunter Region and the distribution of more than 200 ‘Grief Resource Packs’ to rural and regional schools throughout NSW. This was developed in response to the increase in requests for both counselling and training for school counsellors and other professionals. NCCG identified that school counsellors desperately require the skills and knowledge to better support bereaved children, and the intensive workshop on children’s grief was able to provide just that. The Grief Resource Packs’ also contained information about grief and bereavement, counselling references, and contact information for the Centre. 93% of respondents to the feedback form indicated the grief resource packs had been helpful and a valued addition to their work and their school.
Previously Funded Partners
Here are some other charities and projects funded by the Greater Charitable Foundation since our inception.
National Centre For Childhood Grief
Cancer Patients Foundation
Greater Charitable Foundation funding supported the delivery of the Look Good Feel Better Program in Newcastle, Dubbo, Grafton and Bomaderry. Look Good Feel Better is a free national community service program run by the Cancer Patients Foundation, dedicated to teaching cancer patients how to manage the appearance-related side-effects caused by cancer treatment. Women, men and teenagers participated in the practical workshop demonstrations covering skin care, make-up and head wear, leaving them empowered and ready to face their cancer diagnosis with confidence. Greater Bank employees also participated as volunteers in the program in Penrith and Muswellbrook. More than 200 community members were able to participate in the Look Good Feel Better program thanks to Greater Charitable Foundation funding.
CanTeen was supported by the Greater Charitable Foundation from 2017 to 2018 for the delivery of a new Family Support Project, aimed at improving the wellbeing of families when a parent has cancer. This project had three elements to it; an in-hospital Parent Support Worker; a Family Resilience Study; and the development of a family resources package. A fulltime social worker was appointed to support parents when they are treated with cancer in hospital. A key focus of their role was to work with parents to improve open and honest communication about cancer within the family, which is a key need of adolescent and young adult children. The social worker also connected families with the support services CanTeen provides locally through their Newcastle office, as well as CanTeen’s Online Support Platform, where young people can access counselling and peer support 24/7. Alongside that CanTeen undertook a study to further explore the impact of cancer on family dynamics and identified additional support options. The study findings combined with insights from the social worker provided the basis for an information guide specifically designed for parents with cancer who have children aged between 12-25. It is aimed at helping parents talk to their family about cancer and act as a companion through this challenging time.
Cancer Council NSW
Greater Charitable Foundation funding supported a Hunter/Central Coast-based Financial Counsellor for people affected by cancer experiencing financial hardship. This program was aimed at alleviating the financial stress of cancer on patients and their families by connecting them with a qualified Financial Counsellor who provided free information, support and advocacy to reduce their financial burden. A cancer diagnosis can cost up to $149,400 and financial stress is reported by around one-quarter of people diagnosed with cancer and more than one-third of carers. Greater Charitable Foundation funding enabled more than 100 patients and carers to access this free financial counselling service, which resulted in over $80,000 of debt being waived. The beneficiaries reported positive outcomes, including a reduction in financial burden, better access to hardship programs and improved mental and emotional health.
Starlight Children's Foundation Australia
Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia were successful in receiving over $1M in funding from the Greater Charitable Foundation from 2011-2018. Funding supported a number of different programs over the 6 year period, including; the Starlight Wishgranting program; in-hospital programs at the Starlight Express Room at John Hunter Hospital (Newcastle); the Starlight Connection Program which took Captain Starlight to regional hospitals in Maitland, Gosford, Armidale, Tamworth, Lismore, Gold Coast and Taree; Livewire in-hospital workshops, helping to connect seriously ill adolescents through creativity, entertainment and a supportive environment; and the production of 'Livewire Zine', a magazine with content created by young people in hospital, for young people in hospital. In 2017 alone, our partnership was able to provide 1,516 positive experiences to children in hospitals throughout regional NSW and the Gold Coast. In 2018, Starlight nominated Greater Charitable Foundation and our Greater Bank employee volunteers for the QLD Volunteering Awards in the Corporate Volunteering category. We made it to the top 3 finalists in the State, showcasing the support and passion our organisation and employees demonstrated for Starlight over the years.
Tantrum Youth Arts
Tantrum were successful in receiving more than $100,000 in funding from the Greater Charitable Foundation to support the re-development and roll-out of their Opening Doors interactive performance and workshop program. Opening Doors aims to educate and empower young people with increased knowledge around the causes and impacts of domestic family violence and the avenues of support available to them if they are experiencing these issues. Opening Doors consists of a performance and forum presented by professional actors and supported by input from police officers, solicitors, counsellors and support service providers through a partnership with Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD). The performance is interactive and directly engages students in a conversation about the situations portrayed in the play and provides them with the opportunity to actively problem-solve and explore avenues of support through the flexible structure of the play. Greater Charitable Foundation funding enabled the delivery of Opening Doors to more than 3000 students across New South Wales. 87% of these students reported that their knowledge about domestic violence increased as a result of the play and 9 out of 10 of these students said they now have a greater awareness of the avenues for support that exists in their community.
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect)
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) were successful in receiving funds from the Greater Charitable Foundation from 2011-2017. Funding supported the pilot and roll-out of Aspect’s Early Intervention Readiness Program (EIRP) in the Hunter Region, aimed at assisting families to navigate through the challenges they are faced with after diagnosis of autism. The program was established to provide families with information and practical support to prepare them for their child's transition into appropriate services to enhance their future learning potential. Additional funding allocated in 2015 enabled EIRP service provision to expand to Port Macquarie. Demand for the program was overwhelming, with more than 500 families taking part. In April 2016, the Foundation was the recipient of Aspect's 'Above and Beyond Recognition Award' for the support of EIRP, and all the families living with autism who had been supported by this impactful program.
Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRR) were supported by the Greater Charitable Foundation from 2016 until 2018. Greater Charitable Foundation was one of more than eight different funding bodies - representing the State Government and philanthropic sectors - who collaborated to support a community initiative known as Innovation for Community Impact (I4CI). The I4CI program focused on addressing pressing and persistent social issues facing communities in 10 regional NSW LGA's situated in the Hunter and Mid North Coast regions. It did this by supporting innovative and effective responses to issues including domestic and family violence, education disengagement, criminal behaviours, and unemployment. The program also presented a unique opportunity for philanthropy and Government to work together, sharing approaches, practices, and strengthening the ability of smaller grassroots organisations that can't typically access Government grants or larger philanthropic organisations, to receive support. Some of the charitable organisations our funding supported through I4CI included Dress For Success, Jenny’s Place, Australia’s Magna Carta Institute, the Malpa Institute and Community Activities Lake Macquarie (CALM).
The Greater Charitable Foundation provided funding to Camp Quality from 2014-2017. Funding supported Camp Quality’s Child Life Therapy program at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital. Child Life Therapists teach coping strategies to children to help them deal with their illness inside and outside hospital. The aim of Child Life Therapy is to reduce the stress and anxiety that can be associated with hospitalisation by focusing on the child’s development, social and emotional wellbeing, and in turn, the wellbeing of the entire family unit. This is done through procedural education, information, distraction and structured play. Greater Charitable Foundation funding enabled more than 1,000 Child Life Therapy sessions each year in the paediatric oncology unit at John Hunter Children’s Hospital. In 2016, the Greater Charitable Foundation also won the La Trobe Financial Standard Philanthropy Award for our support of the Child Life Therapy Program.
Harry Meyn Foundation
Greater Charitable Foundation provided funding to the Harry Meyn Foundation from 2016-2018. Our funds supported the Harry's House Respite Program, assisting Hunter-based families affected by childhood cancer. The program provided emotional and financial support to families in the form of free short term or respite accommodation. Studies showed that there was a shortage in the Hunter of zero to low cost accommodation for families who had to travel away from home for their child to receive treatment, and Harry’s House addressed that need. Our funding ensured that more than 250 people could utilise the Harry’s House retreat from 2016 until 2018. Greater Bank staff supported the delivery of the program through working bees and donating gifts for the families who stayed at Harry’s House, as well as Christmas hampers for families who had to visit Harry’s House during the Christmas period.
The Greater Charitable Foundation supported the Phase II trial of beyondblue’s Friends and Family Support Program (FFSP) from 2016-2017. This program’s aim was to provide support for families and friends of a person who has attempted suicide. Family and friends have a major role to play in reducing the likelihood of a further suicide attempt, and this program aimed to provide vital information and an evidence-based understanding of how to support a loved one through such a difficult period.
Sir David Martin Foundation
From 2015-2016, the Greater Charitable Foundation funded the Sir David Martin Foundation Creative Arts and Vocational Education (CAVE) Program at Triple Care Farm (TCF). TCF is an award-winning residential rehabilitation facility for 16-24 year olds, providing treatment and support for young people experiencing addiction, mental health issues, trauma, abuse and homelessness. The CAVE Program assisted TCF students in overcoming their mental health and addiction disorders through new and innovative ways; exploring creativity and self-expression. The young participants engaged in music, art, and film making to improve their mental wellbeing and assist them in learning vocational skills that aided them in securing employment upon leaving TCF.
Cerebral Palsy Alliance
From 2011-2016, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance were successful in receiving funding from the Greater Charitable Foundation for their Ignition, Ignition Lite and Emerge Mentoring programs. These programs paired Greater Bank staff with teenagers and young adults living with cerebral palsy and related physical disabilities. The Greater Bank staff mentored the young people through the nine-month long programs, which were ultimately aimed at helping participants learn new skills, gain more confidence and prepare themselves for continued study or employment. Parents of the participants were also provided the opportunity to build networks with other parents during the course of the program. During the course of the funding, more than 50 Greater Bank staff volunteered their time as program mentors, giving close to 700 hours each year to the program.
Father Chris Riley's Youth Off The Streets
From 2013-2015, the Greater Charitable Foundation provided funding for the Hunter Valley Futures Program to support 12-14 local communities within the greater Cessnock and Maitland regions focusing on tailored early-intervention and education programs for disadvantaged children and young people. Through building rapport with disadvantaged youth, the program developed social cohesion through linking young people to local support services, the labour market, education, family and community services. Youth Off The Streets used a grass-roots, street-based model by going to the young people and engaging with them "on their own turf". Greater Bank staff engaged with the Hunter Valley Futures Program, attending several Outreach sessions to assist in the delivery of the program. For more visit youthoffthestreets.com.au.
In 2015, Raise were successful in receiving funding from the Greater Charitable Foundation to deliver their Bump Program for young pregnant and parenting girls aged between 13 and 23 in Gosford and Newcastle. The young women undertook weekly mentoring sessions with an experienced mother and 9 monthly workshops. The workshops covered topic areas including employment pathways and resumes, goal setting, healthy nutrition, positive mental health, body image, healthy relationships and more. Upon completion Bump participants graduated with a TAFE Certificate I and a clear set of goals towards further education and employment. A Greater Bank staff member mentored a young woman through the program, helping her to receive her Certificate.
In 2011, the Foundation began assisting Everymind (formerly the Hunter Institute of Mental Health), in partnership with John Hunter Children's Hospital and Kaleidoscope Children's Health Network, to develop a new set of resources and interventions promoting resilience, mental health and well being for children with chronic illness and their families. The Child Illness and Resilience (CHiRP) team developed a resource package to support families with maintaining and promoting their resilience and psychological wellbeing following a hospital visit. The resources provides practical strategies to deal with distress or other immediate problems as well as give parents greater confidence in using positive parenting approaches and coping strategies.This resource package was being developed on the basis of various research studies with families currently living with a child with a chronic illness to ensure that the information meets the support needs of the families.
Australian Children's Music Foundation
In 2013, the Greater Charitable Foundation funded the Australian Children's Music Foundation's Free Music Education Program in the NSW Manning Region. It is a customised music program to help engage and retain students and help improve their mental and emotional wellbeing. Greater Bank staff volunteered their time to help in the delivery of the music program. For further information visit http://www.acmf.com.au/.
In 2014 and 2015, the Greater Charitable Foundation provided funding for the Community in the Kitchen (CiTK) program. The CiTK program provided vocational training pathways for young people aged 14-24 years who were at risk of, or already disengaged from the education system. At the completion of the program, participants received a Certificate II and Certificate III in Hospitality, or a Certificate II In Rural Operations to assist them to access further education or employment. Over the course of the funding, 45 students graduated with a full certification, 31 students gained employment, 7 students gained an apprenticeship or traineeship and 28 students chose to engage in further vocational training or secondary school education.
With funding from the Greater Charitable Foundation, ReachOut (formerly the Inspire Foundation) were able to pilot a new online program aimed to improve the mental health of young men (aged 14-25) by challenging them to complete missions that will boost their confidence, develop their resilience and improve their mental fitness. Greater Bank staff and their families assisted in the testing of the new website. For further information visit reachout.com.
From 2011-2014, the Greater Charitable Foundation funded the 'KidzSpeak Program'. KidzSpeak is a mobile speech therapy service for the Illawarra Region that reaches children aged 5 and under who may not otherwise have had access to speech pathology intervention. Children participate in speech and language enrichment groups at their preschool or child care centre, coordinated by a professional speech pathologist. A number of Greater Bank staff members volunteered their time to help deliver the KidzSpeak Program and assisted in putting together resource packages. For further information, visit http://www.kidzwishfoundation.org.au/.
Sutherland Shire Carer Support Service (SSCSS)
The Greater Charitable Foundation provided funding to SSCSS from 2016-2017 to aid in the capacity building of the organisation and its employees. This capacity building grant was aimed at enabling SSCSS to access the necessary tools and resources to create a long term sustainable business, fundraising and marketing plan to establish and facilitate a carers program within the Illawarra Local Government Area. SSCSS carers programs seek to improve the quality of life of unpaid carers by supporting them in their role in caring for a relative or friend who is frail or has a disability.
Heal For Life Foundation
The Greater Charitable Foundation began funding Heal For Life's healing programs for survivors of childhood trauma and abuse in 2011. Through this original funding, the organisation was assisted to provide programs for adults and children. The Foundation also previously provided funding to Heal For Life for a counsellor position at the Eva House Program. The Eva House program was aimed at supporting young women with resources and a safe place in which to recover from childhood trauma and abuse. For further information visit http://www.healforlife.com.au/.