Boys to Bush's hub receives funding help through Commbank grant

Jacinta Welsh from Commonwealth Bank presents the $10,000 grant to Will, Ashton, Mikey and Jared Demamiel from Boys to the Bush.
Jacinta Welsh from Commonwealth Bank presents the $10,000 grant to Will, Ashton, Mikey and Jared Demamiel from Boys to the Bush.

Boys to the Bush, a local community organisation that provides mentorship programs and a safe space for disadvantaged boys in rural communities, has received a $10,000 CommBank Community Grant.

Founded in Albury-Wodonga in 2017 by three passionate teachers, the organisation runs camps and activities for disengaged and underprivileged male youths across regional NSW, down to the Victorian border.

The not-for-profit has recently opened a facility in Forbes' town centre, providing a hub to cater for the growing demand within the region.

Upon learning about the mission of Boys to Bush, local staff at CommBank's Forbes branch nominated the organisation to receive funding to help set up the new facility.

In Forbes, the $10,000 Community Grant will be used to purchase tools for their skilled mentoring programs and to purchase essential furniture for the space.

The grant will also help to fund a permanent online platform, after coronavirus social distancing restrictions saw their face-to-face programs come to a halt.

With the vast majority of participants residing in out-of-home care with complex living conditions, the concerning lack of contact during lockdown inspired their latest initiative.

Boys to the Bush joins more than 170 other recipients across Australia to receive one of 205 grants being awarded by the CommBank Staff Foundation.

These organisations have been nominated by a CBA employee to receive a much-needed financial boost of $10,000.

Upon receiving the grant Adam DeMamiel, Co-Founder and General Manager of the organisation, said they have seen over 250 boys come through their NSW based programs in the past year alone and hope to increase their capacity so that we can support more kids in need.

"This generous grant allows us to expand our reach within the Central West, helping us transform more young lives by providing foundations for life skills, relationships and the ability understand their worth," he said.

Nathan Barker, CommBank's Head of Community Investment, says they are really pleased to support Boys to the Bush as it is such a powerful program helping people.

With many Australians recovering from the devastation caused by the recent bushfires, followed by the economic impact of coronavirus, 2020 marks the first year that CBA employees have been able to nominate any eligible organisation or charity in their local community that needs a financial boost.

Mr Barker said they've been really amazed by the quality of the organisations that have been nominated.

Sarah Todd, Branch Manager at Commonwealth Bank in Forbes, said "We live in a rural community where suicide and mental illness rates are alarmingly high, particularly among male youth, which is why community role models and support programs like those at Boys to the Bush are crucial."

"This past year has been especially difficult for our community, weathering a horrific drought and the economic impacts of the pandemic, but Boys to the Bush has provided a safe and nurturing space for disengaged and disadvantaged boys during this hardship and given a sense of hope to the wider community.

"The Forbes team are so excited for this amazing program to receive this grant. They are doing incredible things for the youth in our community and we have been so moved by the stories shared to us and it is for this reason we felt so compelled to nominate them for the grant," Ms Todd said.

There were 205 organisations across Australia that were awarded a CommBank Staff Foundation Community Grant.

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