Community Bank Healesville’s donation for Healesville Junior Football Club

HJFC kids love the new jumpers. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Dongyun Kwon

Community Bank Healesville (CBH) donated $3000 to the Healesville Junior Football Club (HJFC) on Wednesday 24 April.

The sponsorship was to help the footy club get new playing jumpers for the U9’s, U10’s and U14 girls.

HJFC president Zach Coleman said the kids love the new jumpers.

“Coupled with logo changing, the burden pushed by the league to all clubs to update, the old jumpers were tired and were truly past their prime,” he said.

“In season 2023, the branch [CBH] also provided support to the club by funding the replacement of our girls’ jumpers for the U12 and U16 teams.”

CBH board member Elly Hanrahan attended the donation presentation night at Queens Park.

Ms Hanrahan said the donation could be made through the community bank system.

“It’s hard for families to find extra cash for new football jumpers at the moment, but participation in sports is still so valuable for young kids,” she said.

“We’ve been able to contribute $3000 tonight because members of our community have opened an account at the Main Street Bendigo Branch.

“Through the community bank model, our customers all chipped in a little bit for the HJFC without having to do anything. It was all added up and we’re so grateful for everyone who supports us so we can continue to do things like this.”

CBH has been putting a lot of effort into giving its profits back to the community for almost 15 years.

CBH is a branch of Bendigo Bank, owned by a private company run by the Volunteer Board, and the branch provides all the Bendigo Bank’s products and services as well as giving up to 80 per cent of profits back to the community.

Volunteer Board chair Nicole Slingsby said the board managed to raise $800,000 for Bendigo Bank’s franchise agreement in 2010.

“That’s by people in the community buying shares in the community bank,” she said.

“And then they needed volunteers on the board to run the business.

“They’re not bankers. They don’t do the banking or dabble in the finances, but they manage the business and they are all volunteers.”

The Volunteer Board hires bank staff in conjunction with the corporate franchise.

CBH was finally able to pay off all its loans and now focuses on giving back more to the community.

“It’s really good that we finally started to turn a profit,” Ms Slingsby said.

“We finally were able to pay dividends on shares.

“The most important thing for us now is to keep that growth going so that we can continue to give back to the community in a more substantial way in the future.”

The bank mainly provides sponsorship and grants to community groups or sports clubs.

Ms Slingby said they have a system for community groups to make applications for sponsorship of their events.

“Community groups come in and fill out a sponsorship form and our business development committee assesses it and supports whatever their project is,” she said.

“For example, we sponsored Dogs Day Out, the Historical Society’s event and the Film Society’s event just a couple of weeks ago and we did sponsor signage for the Healesville Community Garden.

“We had an application, which we approved, and that was for Yarra Glen Primary School for two new flag poles so that they can fly Indigenous flags. It’s really important in our community because we have a good representation of Indigenous People.”

Volunteer Board director Danny Zemp said the bank supported HJFC along with holding workshops for banking knowledge and financial well-being.

“We are sponsoring two teams at the moment, but in the past, we’ve also sponsored equipment like balls for netball and scoreboard for football,” he said.

“People have a lot of problems these days with scams and Buy Now Pay Later, and we are able to source the right people to hold workshops for people to get financial support mostly at a free to the community basis.

“Last year, the workshop was held in conjunction with The Memo. They helped us by giving their facilities at a discounted rate, so this proves that the community, we’re living in, helps one another out for the greater good.”

The Volunteer Board currently has eight directors with five sub-committees which are People and Culture, Business Development, Finance, Risk and Governance.

The main board meeting happens once a month and the sub-committee meetings are held once every month or every second month.

Mr Zemp said the board is looking for a more diverse range of directors.

“It doesn’t mean you need to understand finances, you need to be able to help the community with a community spirit in a way to understand what is needed and where I can help to get the information,” he said.

“For example, I’m not a financial person, [but] I like to help the community. Therefore, I’m on the Business Development committee and other people have other areas of strength and we try to select directors who suit that niche.

“We have to make a whole circle to bring everything together because it’s important that we communicate well together so that we are out there to be seen and to be able to help the people who need our support.”

The reason both volunteers have joined the Volunteer Board was because they’d like to give back the love that they got from the community.

Ms Slingby joined the board in 2022 and the chair said she loves the Healesville community where she moved to about 11 years ago as a single parent.

“I had to juggle with children, school, work and study, I was studying law then. For some time, it was very very busy and I had so many lovely people offered to help me,” she said.

“My neighbours would say “Can I pick up the kids for you?”, it was such a great community feeling that I really got so much help and support.

“When I closed down my business not so long ago, I thought it’d be really nice to join a community group and volunteer some time.”

Mr Zemp has been on the board for a number of years and what made him get involved in the board is to help the community.

“I’ve been here in Healesville for 23 years now and I’ve felt like I need to give more back to the community because the community helps me as well.

“Whenever I need help, there are always people around who are willing to help and I felt giving back to something like that in a capacity that I can help is rewarding.

“I also want to make sure that we have services here on the bank that are for the community, not just for big profits, which make people smile and enjoy the community.”

CBH branch manager Keeley Mahoney said without the Volunteer Board, the bank wouldn’t be able to exist.

“They mean everything to us, they volunteer their own time,” she said.

“I’m so proud that our branch has been helping the community with the profit we’ve made from the community.

“It’s an absolute honour to help small groups struggling and keep groups and clubs going.”

Mr Coleman said the bank is very approachable and working with board members has been very easy, comfortable and professional.

“I highly recommend working with the CBH,” he said.

“The HJFC banks with the branch which has always been supportive, open to discussions on how best we can manage our transactions, and informative.

“The support and sponsorship the community bank provides our club has gone a long way to ensuring the long-term position of the club and its playing group.”