Banking toward a stronger community
By Cherie Moselen
WARRANDYTE COMMUNITY Bank (WCB) was one of three nominees shortlisted for Sports Chaplaincy Australia’s (SCA) Building Stronger Communities award last month.
The SCA award recognises an individual or organisation, which demonstrates a commitment to building strong, healthy communities.
The three finalists were congratulated and a profile of their efforts acknowledged at the association’s Champions Dinner.
Since opening in 2003, WCB’s total community contribution has exceeded $2.8 million, with almost $1 million being allocated in support of sporting groups throughout Warrandyte, Park Orchards and Wonga Park.
In the 2017/18 financial year, charitable contributions to sporting groups included SCA for the 5th year in a row.
Impressed by the significant impact sports chaplains are having in the local community, the bank also presented its inaugural Strengthening The Community Philanthropic Award to SCA.
The role Sports Chaplaincy Australia plays in caring for sporting clubs is an important one, Warrandyte Community Bank director Lance Ward told the Diary.
“From my very first contact with SCA, as a parent who loves everything about the value sports can bring to our kids, I really connected with what this organisation is about.”
In his own sporting life, Mr Ward said he had “seen players, coaches and club officials, often ill equipped, grapple with the ‘human’ challenges that come their way”. He believed SCA provided “the missing link to modern sporting club life.”
“Club life is no different to our work life,” said Mr Ward. “Injuries can affect players and workmates in different ways. Mental health and wellbeing are increasingly being talked about – openly, at last. But really, how well equipped is club leadership to deal with these types of issues, remembering we are all volunteers?” Sports Chaplaincy Australia is a not-for-profit, charitable, non-denominational association dedicated to serving sports by appointing chaplains to sports clubs. Established in 1984 and with over 650 chaplains serving in local and high-performance sports Australia-wide (and multiple requests for new chaplains everyday), the SCA website states its mission is to “identify suitable chaplains and train them; assist in appointing them and provide a rich array of resources and peer support”.
Partnerships with institutions like Warrandyte Community Bank help the Melbourne-based network provide pastoral care personnel for Warrandyte Football Club and others close to home. Tim Dawson is the sports chaplain at Park Orchards Football Netball Club (POFNC). Over the past five years since he became an accredited member of SCA, the Diary learned Tim had become a club mainstay.
“Basically, I offer an ear to listen to all those connected with the club – members, coaches, committee, volunteers, players and their families,” said Mr Dawson. “I touch base to offer injured players support and connect with and support anyone going through hard times. I make time in my daily life to meet up with people if they contact me.”
With raised awareness now about depression, anxiety and youth suicide, the hardworking father of five said his aim was to “do my little bit to help people before they get to these stages”.
Mr Dawson said his role had also recently involved him working with the club’s leadership group to complete a review of POFNC’s core values and beliefs.
Vice president and long-time volunteer at POFNC Colin Caulfield credited Tim’s role as “invaluable”.
“When a player or member is in need, Tim is their confidante,” he said. “As our footballers come out of school and face challenges associated with finding work, handling their studies or dealing with social issues, they understand they can seek Tim’s help without others at the club knowing.”
Proud of POFNC’s on and off field culture which promotes a strong sense of community, Mr Caulfield said the chaplain was “another strong community person in our club, tying in with other local groups and schools who are connecting with and helping develop our players as young men and ladies”.
The word ‘champion’ generally denotes a person who wins a contest. But, it also describes someone who steadfastly supports a person or cause.
Warrandyte Community Bank did not ultimately receive the Building Stronger Communities award at the SCA Champions Dinner last month.
However, its multilayered contribution to community is unbeatable in this neck of the woods.