Central Coast-based charity, We Care Connect, is the major beneficiary of the inaugural #GreaterCentralCoast community funding program, taking out the public vote and monthly major prize of $2,000.
#GreaterCentralCoast was launched in May to give a diverse range of charities and community groups from across the region the chance to share in funding that will help them to expand programs, purchase resources and offer new services to improve the lives of locals.
Since 2016, We Care Connect and its dedicated band of volunteers has been supporting children living in poverty on the Central Coast and Hunter by collecting community donations of pre-loved children’s clothing and good quality baby items. More than 200 caseworkers from family support agencies and neighbourhood centres throughout the Coast send requests to We Care Connect on behalf of local families in need.
We Care Connect founder and volunteer CEO, Derryck Klarkowski, said the funding could not have been more timely given the exponential growth in the demand for their services over the past 12 months, and the effects COVID-19 has had on the local community.
“We supported more families in 2019 than we did in the previous three years combined. While this is a reflection on our organisation growing and becoming better known, it also shows that there is an increasing number of families across the Central Coast who are struggling to make ends meet.
“COVID-19 has created an even greater demand for our service across the region as unemployment rises as a result of the pandemic. In many cases, we are seeing people who have never previously asked for help reaching out for support.”
Mr Klarkowski said the funding will assist the group to purchase some essential items that they struggle to get donated, as well as cover operational costs.
“Doonas, new pyjamas, and clothes for teenage boys are often items that are requested but rarely donated so this funding will allow us to purchase these items. We are also looking to purchase items that will help children’s development such as colouring books, pens, pencils, as well as reading books.
“We will also be using some of the funding to literally keep the lights on and pay for the electricity bill for our warehouse.
“This really is a wonderful initiative from Greater Bank and we are delighted to be the first recipient of the #GreaterCentralCoast funding program.” | Derryck Klarkowski, volunteer CEO We Care Connect
Also sharing in this month’s funding was Lions Club East Gosford & Wyoming and Coast Shelter who will both receive $500.
Greater Bank’s Central Coast Regional Sales Manager, Josh Swetnam, said the initial funding round has provided financial support to a very important community initiative.
“It’s great to see some very deserving local not-for-profits benefiting from the newly expanded #GreaterCentralCoast funding program,” Josh said.
“We Care Connect provides a wonderful service for some of the region’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people. It’s great to see that our funding contribution will allow them to better support these people across the Central Coast; something which is of particular importance now during the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
The June round of the #GreaterCentralCoast program is now open with Because We Care Boutique, Shoebox Revolution and Coast Opera Australia each vying for a share in the $3000 funding.
The public can cast their vote online at greater.com.au/greatercentralcoast or by visiting a Greater Bank branch. Voting closes at 5pm on Wednesday June 24, 2020.