Community the big winner from local bank

The croquet club is among a host of sporting clubs which have benefitted from sponsorship.
The croquet club is among a host of sporting clubs which have benefitted from sponsorship.

It’s birthday time for Mandurah’s Community Bank Halls Head, but it’s the City of Mandurah that is celebrating with more than $2 million contributed to community organisations and local shareholders by the bank during its 20-year history.

The Community Bank, which celebrated its birthday on April 5, has given back an average of $115,000 to community organisations and shareholders each year, helping to make a significant difference to the wellbeing of the community.

In addition, the holding of the 2009 National and 2018 State Community Bank conferences in Mandurah directly benefited local businesses in the order of well over $900,000. 

The bank’s community partnerships manager, Jenny Hammington, says the Community Bank Halls Head has relationships with about 55 different local community organisations which are all based in Mandurah that have been supported financially over the last couple of years.

Jenny says the Community Bank’s contributions to community projects have made a massive difference to Mandurah.

“We get a lot of positive feedback from those community groups that we help,” she says.

Recent projects have included a community raffle where the Community Bank donated a prize pool of $20,000 and all the organisations got to sell tickets, keeping 100 per cent of funds raised.

“That $20,000 we put in raised close to $54,000 for the 29 local community organisations who participated in the raffle.

“We also support sporting clubs to buy equipment, run events, purchase trophies. We have a sponsorship at the moment with Mandurah Performing Arts Centre which has a young creatives exhibition space for people under 30 to exhibit their work and get started with photography or paintings or sculpture – it can be anything really.”

Jenny says that because the Community Bank Halls Head is a business there is often a requirement for it to be able to develop more business through its association with the organisations it partners with, because without that it wouldn’t be in the position to support the Mandurah Community. 

The main criteria for organisations looking for funding is that they are giving back to the local community.

“It has to be local and it has to be an incorporated organisation, or supported by an incorporated organisation, but if you look at the things we’ve supported, it’s very diverse.

“We sponsored the TEDxMandurah event last year and again this year, we sponsored some community gardens, barbecues for beach clean-ups, a number of sporting clubs for people of all ages right up to bowls and croquet, a couple of schools including one school that has an assistance dog program called the Charlie Program. It’s a dog that comes in and helps kids who have trouble with their emotional regulation, anxiety or trauma.

“We’ve sponsored an art festival, an Aboriginal association to run a big celebration, some Covid relief sponsorship where we gave to community organisations who were providing food relief to people who were having to isolate or were in lockdown and didn’t have anyone who could bring them food.

“We have a number of multicultural community organisations that we’ve been working with, wildlife rescue, men’s sheds – there’s so many.

“And we don’t just support with finance, we don’t just give a grant and step away, we actually get involved in what they are doing so we attend their events, we give them help and advice if they need it, and support. We have marquees, so there is a lot of non-financial support that comes with it which is why we say it’s a sponsorship not a grant.”

Community groups must either be based in the City of Mandurah or be running programs that support people within the City.

Jenny says that understandably community groups who receive money are very grateful.

“We have one multicultural group who have managed to pay for their hire fees for a community centre so they can now run numerous programs throughout each week. They have a cooking kitchen and a dance program which is open to everyone.

“We think of these organisations as our partners, so we work really hard to develop relationships with them.”

A lot of those community organisations bank with Community Bank Halls Head, partly because the bank has a product that is directly aimed at those types of organisations.

“We do find a lot of members of those community organisations tend to jump over to us as well once they understand how it all works.

“That’s my biggest barrier, getting the community to understand that we are local and that the money goes local, so when they do bank with us they are supporting organisations that they can use.”

The Bendigo & Adelaide Bank has been around for more than 160 years, starting life on the Bendigo goldfields in the 1850s as a Building Society.

The community bank model is a franchise which sits under Bendigo & Adelaide Bank, which holds its banking licence. The different community bank branches are individual franchises, owned and operated by companies whose shareholders in the main live in the local community and whose board of directors are local community members.