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#GreaterIllawarra funding supporting pet rescue work

Rescuing cats and kittens across the Illawarra and beyond has become a burgeoning and at times expensive passion for Friends for Life Rescue as the demand for their services continues to grow.

An injection of $2000 courtesy of the Greater Bank’s #GreaterIllawarra community funding program is set to have a significant impact on their operations though as they continue their work to rehome cats and kittens that come into their care.

Friends for Life Rescue took out the public vote and major funding share for the month, while runners-up, Lakeview Hockey Club and Dapto Little Athletics Centre, each received $500.

Established in the region 18 months ago, the volunteer group play an important role in rescuing the pets from a wide range of situations, providing medical and other treatment, before linking them with appropriate families that are looking to adopt them.

Friends for Life Rescue founder, Julie Smith, said that they have seen a significant increase in the number of cats and kittens that have been abandoned in the region over the past 12 months.

“It has been a crippling kitten season. We have seen so many cats that gave been dumped and have started their own colonies, which is very sad and gets out of control,” Julie explained.

“So many people have done it tough over the last year or so, and in many cases, it has been the pets that have been left behinds as they no longer have the capacity to provide the ongoing care.

“There are so many other situations though where people have to give up their pets, such as moving into aged care or other housing that won’t allow pets, or even people who become terminally ill.

“This is where we come in. Our volunteers take the animals and provide immediate care to ensure their health and wellbeing. We then go about matching animals with adoptive families to ensure they get a second chance at life.

“It has become a real passion project for all the volunteers, but the service also comes at a price as we provide the animals in our care with premium food, worming, as well as veterinarian care when required.

“We don’t receive any funding for the work and rely exclusive on the generosity of the community to fund this work. The funding from Greater Bank is a wonderful boost for us and will go a long way towards helping us support these animals"

Julie Smith, Friends for Life Rescue Founder. 

Greater Bank’s Illawarra Regional Sales Manager, Greg Creagan, said that animal rescue was such an important service for the local community and was delighted to be able to support an organisation doing wonderful things to support animal welfare.

“It’s sad that so many animals are abandoned each year, which is why it’s critical that we have an organisation such as Friends for Life Rescue providing this service in our community,” Greg said.

“This care comes at a cost and it’s wonderful to see how our community funding round makes such a positive impact on the operations of the rescue service and in turn the welfare of the animals that come into their care.”

Established in June 2018, the #GreaterIllawarra has now provided $129,000 in funding to 99 community groups across the Illawarra.

The March round of the #GreaterIllawarra program is now open with Shellharbour Relay For Life, Music Makers - The Disability Trust and Balgownie Scout Group each vying for a share in the $3000 funding.

The public can cast their vote online at or by visiting a Greater Bank branch. Voting closes at 5pm on Wednesday 31 March 2021. 

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