News

Community bank pays big dividends to local projects

CHRISTMAS just came early for more than 55 community groups in Warrandyte and surrounding areas.

They all received a share of $400,000 in grants and sponsorships thanks to the Warrandyte Community Bank’s Community Investment Program, which sees up to 80% of its profit returned directly to our community.

To celebrate, the bank held its Annual General Meeting and Grants Presentation with more than 100 volunteers and community leaders on November 13 at the Warrandyte Sporting Group clubrooms.

Staff and Directors heard first-hand how grant funds will be spent over the coming year.

Aaron Farr, Chairman of Warrandyte Community Financial Services, the company which operates the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch, said the grants would be used to carry out improvements to local infrastructure, resources and projects which will benefit the entire community.

“This year’s grants ranged from $850 to more than $56,000; $400,000 has been committed for the year, with $2.8 million reinvested in the community since we opened in 2003.

“It is really rewarding to see the Warrandyte clubrooms full of people, many volunteers who work hard with the greater good of their community at heart and all benefitting because the community banking model ensures funding is directed at a local level,” he said.

Grant recipients include local CFA’s, environmental and arts groups, schools, kinders, sporting groups, community services and church groups.

The Park Orchards Pettet Family Foundation gratefully accepted sponsorship of $5,000 to support its work in the local community — the Foundation provides crisis intervention for children and their families.

Foundation Director Graham Whiteside said: “we are continually striving in our efforts to increase our reach and are consciously expanding our horizons when caring for those in need in our community.

“There are a lot of people who have been assisted by the Foundation and this is due, in no small part, to the funds you make available to us.”

Veronica Holland told guests what Christmas Hills Fire Brigade will be doing with its grant of $16,995, which will ensure the replacement of the brigade’s manual bi-fold door.

Operation of the existing door is slow and arduous, it can take up to 20 minutes to be opened, requires two personnel and the brigade’s Tanker can barely pass under safely.

“The bi-fold door on the south station is old, warped, pernickety and tired, much like many of the firefighters,” said Veronica.

She went on to say “getting an automated push button magical door is going to make us all very very happy”.

Sports Chaplaincy Australia (SCA) was awarded the banks’ inaugural Strengthening the Community Philanthropic Award.

Warrandyte Community Bank Director Lance Ward made the surprise presentation sharing his thoughts on the significant impact of sports chaplains and how in times of crisis our young people need options to turn to that might not be their mum and dad, medical professionals or their teachers.

“It’s so important for young people to have someone to talk with when times get tough.

“The chaplains from SCA work alongside the young people in our sporting clubs and are making a genuine and far reaching impact in the everyday; that is, when things are going well and in times of need, this is both unique and special.

“On behalf of the Warrandyte Community Bank, the Directors and Chair Aaron Farr, we want to say thank you to the men and women of SCA for serving so selflessly in our local community,” Lance said.

The presentation night was showered with stories of change, hope and inspiration and on the back of a national Bendigo Community Bank “BE THE CHANGE” ad campaign, where customers are asked if they would like to see what difference their support makes.

In a sum up of the night, you may not think who you bank with matters — but it does, and for Warrandyte Community Bank customers their banking is making a real difference.

Every day customers help provide facilities, resources, community programs and change lives simply by banking with our local branch.

Their home loans are refurbishing pre-schools and supporting our CFAs, creating sporting facilities and providing classroom resources.

Personal loans, business banking and credit cards are funding rescue boats, conserving and rehabilitating native bushland, supporting the arts, festivals, Christmas Carols, the aged and relieving the hardships of those in need.

Everyday banking is providing all this and more.

In fact, $183 million has been returned to communities and initiatives Australia-wide via the community bank network.

Do you need a bank to give you the products and services you need?

Warrandyte Community Bank provides a full suite of banking products at competitive rates.

You can make a real difference in your community simply by banking locally.

To find out more contact Cheryl and the team at 144 Yarra St, Warrandyte or phone 9844 2233.

Teskey Brothers win big at Music Victoria Awards

THE MUSIC industries finest gathered in Melbourne during Melbourne Music Week for The Age Music Victoria Awards.

Melbourne soul tastemaker and RRR host Chris Gill and PBS presenter Lyndelle Wilkinson hosted the 2017 Awards acknowledging the best acts, releases, venues and festivals throughout the State.

This year’s awards saw some familiar faces gracing the prize-winners’ stage on multiple occasions as well as some first-time awardees, in what was an absolute standout celebration of the past 12 months of great local music.

Warrandyte’s favourite son’s The Teskey Brothers took out this year’s Best Emerging Act.

A previous winner of the award Remi was up for Best Male Artist this year but was edged out by perennial favourite and music legend Paul Kelly, so we hope to see the Teskey Brothers continue to go from strength to strength on the back of this prestigious award.

Frontman, Josh Teskey told the Diary that they are blown away by the amazing year they have had.

“From being a band from Warrandyte, that in our 10 years of playing together had never left Victoria, we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel our music all around the country and overseas to the States and London.

“Our album Half Mile Harvest has had a much bigger reach than we ever could have imagined,” he said.

Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan commented on this year’s impressive talent as he congratulated all of the winners and nominees.

“We are very proud that many of these winners haven’t just made an impact in Australia over the last 12 months, but acts such as Jen Cloher, The Teskey Brothers, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and A.B. Original have been flying the Victorian flag overseas,” he said.

To top off what has been such an incredible year for the Teskey Brothers, Half Mile Harvest was also awarded best soul/funk album.

Josh Teskey said the award was “the icing on the cake”.

“We’re so humbled people have responded to this album with such love, and avid thanks to Vic Music for everything they do for this thriving Melbourne music scene,” he said.

Major sponsor for the night was The Age, and Editor of the paper’s EG, Martin Boulton said “In our 12th year, it’s perhaps more satisfying than ever to see our genre award winners also making a name for themselves nationally and overseas.

“The huge array of talent nominated this year speaks volumes about the health of our local music industry,” he said.

Following the awards verdicts as per tradition, the festivities continued into the night with the official Awards After Party featuring killer live performances from minimalist disco act Harvey Sutherland and Bermuda, powerhouse trio Cable Ties and post-punk four-piece Gold Class.

Party starters the EG Allstars Band also backed some special guest performances from Josh Teskey (The Teskey Brothers), Archie Roach, Gretta Ray, Ella Thompson (GL), Michelle Nicolle, Birdz, Mojo Juju and Jim Lawrie performing some of the best songs of the year.

It was a big month for the local lads, as they also supported Australian music legends Midnight Oil for one of their sold-out performances at the Myer Music Bowl.

The boys are busy continuing with their tour around Australia and New Zealand, but if you are lucky, you can catch them on a brief visit back home on January 26 for a special twilight performance at Melbourne Zoo.

CFA give WHS students valuable life skills

WARRANDYTE CFA’s youth crew are celebrating 20 years of firefighting and fun.

Beginning in the 1990’s as a Year 9 and 10 program at Warrandyte High School, the youth crew started as a practical elective for students wanting an outdoor and hands on experience.

Over the 20 years, more than 880 students have experienced the program, with dozens going on to volunteer and work with the CFA.

Those that walk through the youth crew’s doors have come out the other end as resilient and community minded young adults, pursuing careers as paramedics, career firefighters or in fields like engineering.

Will Hodgson, an instructor for the youth crew and First Lieutenant at the Warrandyte CFA, says the program provides a unique experience for students, especially those that may not want to follow traditional academic routes.

“The world has lots of things to offer — It doesn’t matter how well you’re doing in maths or science… with the CFA program you’ve got life skills, first aid skills and they’re working within their communities.

“The impact this has… everyone has helped out in the community; I feel so humbled to know that we’ve touched the lives of young people so that they can carry the CFA values throughout their lives and make change in their communities,” he said.

The program includes trips to the CFA and MFB headquarters, an excursion to the fire museum, fire fighting camps and outdoor education activities.

Students learn how to use and respect the equipment and fight fires first hand.

Dave Kahuaiwa from Warrandyte High School cannot believe how the program has evolved and succeeded.

“They arrive as a jumble of kids, and they leave with really great leadership skills and team skills — they go home and have a conversation with their families about fire preparedness and fire plans.

“What better community group to be a part of in Warrandyte than the CFA? Because of where we’re situated, it’s so important.,” said Dave.

Will Hodgson says the impact the youth crew has in kids’ lives is profound, and it is an experience he is incredibly grateful to be a part of.

“Students need to know that they’re worthwhile, and this program gives them the opportunity to be free from academic pressures for a while.

“This shows them that there’s a position in life for them, that the world needs people with so many different skills, and if they want to join the CFA afterwards, well that’s a great bonus.”

Five houses unite under one roof

Manningham’s five Neighbourhood Houses have formed a new strategic alliance, which will improve access to adult education for the municipality’s residents.

Under the banner “Manningham Learns” the Neighbourhood Houses of Warrandyte, Park Orchards, Wonga Park, The Pines Learning and Living and Learning at Ajani can to pool their resources and aggregate each centre’s courses and activities into one place, making it easier for adults to access courses and activities across the municipality.

Outgoing Mayor of Manningham Cr Michelle Kleinert told the Diary having all of Manningham’s Neighbourhood Houses united will grant residents with more options when exploring their adult education needs.

“When you consider you have Warrandyte, Park Orchards, Wonga Park they are all offering different things, if someone is living in an area and they only know Warrandyte they are missing out and Park Orchards is not that far; so it gives us better access for our community to feel they have better access to more tools,” she said.

In 2016 10,500 people enrolled in activities at Neighbourhood Houses across the municipality, according to data from the 2016 Census, that would indicate between 10 and 12 per cent of the residents of Manningham who are beyond compulsory schooling age are involved in some form of activity or course run by Neighbourhood Houses.

At the Manningham Learns launch, Cr Kleinert spoke on the importance of this alliance in promoting education within the municipality.

“For young people who are struggling with learning, with education; when they see their parents and grandparents still learning — it is a very powerful message for us to give back to the next generation,” she said.

There are around 300 organisations in Victoria who are eligible for funding under the capacity and innovations fund, the money helps organisations evolve the way they engage with the community to provide education, but there is only so much money to go around and often strategic alliances are a more attractive way to fund enhancements, but alliances between independent organisations are tricky, especially in the adult education sector.

The Manningham Learns project has taken 18 months to get from planning to launch and has meant the five Neighbourhood Houses have had to change their view of each other, they have had to become collaborators instead of competitors, a task not easy to achieve and one which Julie Hebert, Manager of Training and Participation Regional Support for north eastern Victoria Region praised.

“There are about 300 [community education organisations] in the State and if every single entity tries to do it by themselves in this modern context, it is a big risk — it is working together that saves everybody in the end.

“It isn’t an easy task to get five organisations who are vastly different to agree on a course of action to do the same thing, it is a very, very, very hard task.

“It is a very, very great outcome, what you’ve done, you should be very proud,” she said at the launch of Manningham Learns.

This new alliance has received accolades from all levels of government and the managers of the five Neighbourhood Houses have worked hard to make this happen, under the umbrella of Manningham Learns they will be able to make their administration more efficient which means each manager can focus on providing a better education service, as Pauline Fyffe, manager of Park Orchards Community House explained.

“Initially we still have a lot of work to do in determining how the alliance will operate and the benefits we will see, the project has been about bringing us together, we have come a long way on that journey but there is still quite a lot to do in terms of how we will operate, how we will make our lives easier, this is the beginning,” she said.

Emma Edmond, of Warrandyte Neighbourhood House added: “because we know each other a lot better now and there is a high level of trust amongst us we will be able to just put our hand up to do something I can do instead of all of us having to do the same thing individually”.

The efficient running of an organisation like Neighbourhood House is vital if it is to evolve the service it provides the community and a lot of the changes in policy which Manningham Learns has initiated will not be seen by most.

What will be seen is the ability to see, in one place, what all five Neighbourhood Houses have on offer, which will give those members of the community who are seeking to educate themselves further a more convenient picture of what courses and activities are available, and where.

“The biggest benefit is that all our services are now in one place, so they can access the website and download a course procure — it is a one stop shop for learning,” said Ms Fyffe.

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Communities speak out against North East Link

Alarm at the potential impact of North East Link is ramping up.

At a recent forum in Eltham, The Greens MP, Samantha Dunn, stated she believes the four proposed options are “pitting communities against each other”.

Ms Dunn called for communities to unite to oppose the construction of the North East Link in any form.

“It doesn’t matter where it is… it isn’t the right direction for Melbourne, it’s not going to solve the problems that you have it’s going to create enormous impacts in your communities… it doesn’t matter which part of northern Melbourne you live in, if this project goes ahead it is going to impact your area,” Ms Dunn said.

Greens advisor Alex Mark told the forum:

“All of the options lead to a loss of amenity, community facilities, schools and established residences, they carve up greenspace and require the acquisition of parkland, they generate pollution, they generate more traffic on local roads… all of them will further entrench car dependency and urban sprawl.

“What hasn’t been shown by the North East Link Authority (NELA) yet is that they will create land use change so you will see, light residential become commercial, industrial or far higher density residential areas — and that is not something that is reversible,” he said.

Mr Marks then put forward a suite of public transport projects which, combined, would cost less for the toll road, including upgrading rail, bus and tram and freight services to better serve the north east of Melbourne.

Manningham council have sent out a survey to gauge residents’ views on the project.

Manningham Council say they will use the data advocate on behalf of its residents on the preferred route and the design priorities.

The survey is open until 5pm November 17. Councillor Paul McLeish told the Diary he is arguing for improved public transport to be factored in to the plan.

“The North East Link at this point essentially completely fails to address public transport in any meaningful way — there is no inclusion of park and ride facilities, there is no expansion of existing park and ride facilities contemplated in any form there is no apparent consideration of heavy rail.

“If you are trying to plan for Melbourne for 30 years, which is what this infrastructure is about, in 30 years the population will be between 7–8 million people living in the city of Melbourne and you are going to need that outer loop rail just to make the rail network function,“ said Cr McLeish. Meanwhile the recently launched North East Link Forum (NELF) combines residents’ associations of Warrandyte, Park Orchards and Donvale who have come together to respond to issues around Route B and C, which would most likely impact these areas.

“These proposed routes would mean a 3km stretch of six-lane freeway thundering through the valley,” said NELF spokesperson Carli Lange-Boutle.

“We have followed the NE Link Authorities guidelines and have learnt nothing further to help us truly understand the impact on local roads, traffic, environment and residents…we are calling on Warrandytians to actively lobby against the impacts of Route B and C and join us in defending our Village character, our natural Yarra River valley bush land and surrounding Green Wedge buffers,” she said.

To have your say, Manningham Councillor Sophy Galbally has announced she will be holding a No Highway in Green Wedge protest at Stintons Reserve on Sunday, November 26 from 11am–1pm or contact NELF northeastlinkforum@gmail.com for information on how to get involved with their campaign.