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Five charities have shared close to $200,000 in grants from Bank of Melbourne’s Neighbourhood Fund in its latest funding round.

The grants will help improve the lives of thousands of disadvantaged Victorians, helping promote inclusion for adults with intellectual disabilities, creating employment pathways for Shepparton’s young Indigenous community, supporting children with debilitating neurological conditions, and building a brighter future for disadvantaged children by providing basic literacy skills.  

Since its launch in 2013, the Neighbourhood Fund has donated almost $1.7 million to small charities that attract little government funding or significant fundraising income of their own. Bank of Melbourne’s generous customers, suppliers and partners have enabled the Fund to support the following projects in this funding round:

1. Down Syndrome Victoria – Greater Melbourne: $15,000

Using a 2015 Neighbourhood Fund grant, Down Syndrome Victoria established a peer support network for 18-30 year olds with Down Syndrome, Club21. This year’s grant will be used to continue the successful program for another year, encouraging independence in young adults with Down Syndrome through group social activities including sailing, boxing, dining, and bowling.

2. Ganbina – Shepparton: $50,000

Ganbina is Australia’s most successful program to transition young Indigenous people from school to work. The grant will be used to provide 310 scholarships for the Shepparton-Goulburn Valley Indigenous community of around 6,000, helping children from low socio-economic background buy school books and uniforms to increase participation in education.

3. Conscious Creative – Port  Phillip, Melbourne, Yarra: $50,000

Conscious Creative is a social enterprise that helps young people out of homelessness. Through its clothing brand HoMie, it helps remove the stigma around homelessness and delivers early intervention training and employment programs for young homeless Melburnians between 18 and 25. The grant will be used to help break the cycle of disadvantage that leads to homelessness, including growing the bricks-and-mortar store in Fitzroy and giving away new clothing to homeless young people while connecting them with a support network.

4. Brainwave Australia – Victoria-wide: $30,000

Established in 1994, Brainwave improves the quality of life for children with debilitating neurological conditions and their families. The grant will be used to buy specialised equipment such as customised chairs, walking frames and speech therapy for up to 25 families who are emotionally and socially marginalised because of their child’s condition.

5. The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation – Maryborough: $47,600

The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation was established in 1999 to help improve the prospects of vulnerable children through speech and language pathology. The grant will be used to help hundreds of children through early literacy learning in the Maryborough area, which is one of Victoria’s most disadvantaged regions and prone to disengagement in education.

For more information about Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund or to apply for grants of up to $50,000 in the next funding round from 1 May 2017, visit


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Helen Aynbund, Head of Corporate Affairs

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