The Hunter’s newest and only local bank and its charitable foundation have today recognised staff for their work to support the community.
At a special ceremony at Greater Bank’s Newcastle headquarters, The Greater Charitable Foundation has awarded its annual Volunteer of the Year Award to Greater Bank account controller Andrew Frith. The award recognises a staff member who has gone above and beyond in their efforts to give back to their community.
Foundation CEO Anne Long was joined by Greater Bank CEO Scott Morgan and last year’s inaugural award winner, Debbie Mace, to present Mr Frith’s award as well as awards to runners up Amy Dodd and Mark Davison.
Mr Frith, 29, from Port Stephens, has volunteered for Foundation partners since its inception in 2011. He first volunteered for the Inspire Foundation to assist in trialling an online mental health program. For the past four years he has volunteered as a mentor to young people with cerebral palsy. Each year Greater Bank staff are paired with a different young person and participate in 15 structured sessions and other activities run by Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Amy Dodd is Greater Bank’s Raymond Terrace branch supervisor. The Clarence Town resident volunteers at the Autism Spectrum Australian (Aspect) playgroups at Thornton and Medowie run as part of the Australian first Early Intervention Readiness Program (EIRP).
Mark Davison is Greater Bank’s corporate solicitor. The Lake Macquarie resident has volunteered as a mentor for three years in Cerebral Palsy Alliance mentoring programs.
A Special Commendation Award was also presented to information security manager and Lake Macquarie resident Jeremy Andreani. Mr Andreani has volunteered as a mentor for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance programs for seven consecutive years. His volunteering has also seen him reach the final three in the individual category of the 2014 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.
Mr Frith received $500 to donate to his nominated charity, John Hunter Children’s Hospital, and a $100 gift card. Both runners up received $250 to donate to a charity and a $50 gift card.
Mr Frith said he was asked to volunteer initially. He said he wasn’t sure what to expect but thought he’d “give it a go”.
“I really enjoyed it; you’re having so much fun it doesn’t feel like you are doing anything work like,” Mr Frith said.
“It’s been really nice to see the kids we mentor come out of their shell, that’s very rewarding,” he said.
“I’d say to anyone thinking about volunteering to just give it a go because you don’t know what you are missing out on.”
Ms Long said an important part of the Foundation’s support was also providing Greater Bank staff to volunteer their services to charity partners to help improve the lives of local families and enhance communities. She said in the past 12 months, 170 Greater Bank employees have volunteered a total of more than 1,000 hours with one or more of the Foundation’s charity partners.
The Foundation is funded by Greater Bank profits. Mr Morgan said while the financial institution had recently changed its name it was still customer-owned and focussed on community.
National Volunteer Week is May 9-15. For information on volunteering visit www.volunteeringaustralia.org
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