Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation grant brings Bravehearts’ program to wider Toowoomba region

3 November 2021

Australia’s leading child protection organisation, Bravehearts will bring its Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure show to the Darling Downs and South West Queensland region, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation.

Bravehearts is one of five charities which will share in $85,000 as beneficiaries of the Charitable Foundation’s second round of grants, announced today.

Bravehearts will receive the major Our Shout grant worth $25,000 which is funded by Heritage Bank staff via generous workplace giving donations.

Four other charities will each receive Growing Stronger Communities grants worth $15,000 – they are Youth Insearch; Baby Gives Back; South Burnett Pantry; and the Australian Numeracy and Literacy Foundation. 

The grant to Bravehearts will enable them to take their vital Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure show to child care centres across the Downs and South West, including Toowoomba, Quilpie, Charleville, Miles, Chinchilla, Roma, Dalby, Oakey, Goondiwindi, St George and Cunnamulla.

This program helps educate young children in fundamental principles of personal safety in a gentle, non-confronting way. It focuses on how to identify a wide-range of potentially unsafe situations, providing them with knowledge and skills on how to respond appropriately.

Executive Officer Mr Paul Olds said this was the second year of the Foundation supporting the Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Program of Bravehearts.

“Our mission is to grow stronger communities and we know this program plays an extremely important role in the prevention and intervention of child sexual assault. This grant will allow Bravehearts to reach an estimated 2,500 children aged 3-8 in schools and child care centres located in Toowoomba and across the South West.”

CEO Alison Geale said the Dittos Keep Safe Adventure show had educated over 1 million Australian children and helped to keep them safe since 2006.

“Thanks to the generous and incredible support of the Heritage Bank Foundation, the children of Toowoomba and the Darling Downs can access these important safety messages,” Mrs Geale said.

“Protecting children is everyone’s business and the Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation have taken important action as child protection advocates in funding the Ditto Show and its critical messaging in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs. 

“We are enormously grateful and cannot wait for Ditto to be in schools in the region in 2022.”

Details of the four $15,000 Growing Stronger Commuinities grants are as follows:

  • Youth Insearch – Youth intervention programs for at risk youth aged 14-20. The Foundation’s funding is to support their free Weekend Workshops in for participants living in the Darling Downs and Wide Bay Burnett regions. 
  • Baby Give Back – aims to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage for vulnerable families, by providing clean, safe, baby essentials. They have been funded to distribute 1,500 Safe Start Packages throughout South East Queensland (including Toowoomba) to mums who are struggling to finance even the basic essentials for their newborn.
  • The South Burnett Pantry – Community members coming together to help vulnerable families struggling with cost of living expenses through a food hamper service and low-cost Thrift shop.
  • The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation – Specialised training for educators and the community on Palm Island to assist the island’s young children gain vital language, literacy and communication skills.

“This selection process was not an easy experience, as we had 123 awesome charities apply for the five grants. There were some extremely close calls and hard decisions to make. I’m very lucky to have the support of a terrific Heritage Bank staff selection committee to help with the process,” Mr Olds said.

“Last year was our inaugural grant round and we learnt a lot from working with our original charity partners. I am very excited that we will be able to take these learnings and hit the ground running to help our charity partners create impact well beyond the financial assistance of the grant.” 

The Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation was established in 2018 with seed funding of $2 million from Heritage Bank. The Charitable Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people in need throughout our community. The Foundation’s philosophy is to provide support now whilst also building a strong corpus that will benefit and grow stronger communities well into the future. The Foundation is confident this will be the first of many grants it provides to grow stronger communities.

Heritage Bank funds all operational costs of the Foundation, ensuring all donations received and investment income generated is applied to helping those in need, now and into the future.

PHOTO: Paul Olds (Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation Executive Officer) with  Alison Geale (Bravehearts CEO) and Bravehearts' lovable lion cub Ditto.

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