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Griffith’s “Freebeez Locker” service is set for a major boost after Beyond Bank agreed to fund a significant expansion of the unique facility.

The customer-owned bank has donated $20,000 to supply twenty new lockers to address a critical need in the community to support young people living rough on local streets or couch-surfing with friends.

Founded and managed in a partnership between Police Citizens Youth Club and Linking Communities Network (LCN), the lockers are stocked with a sleeping bag, self-heating meals, first aid, personal hygiene needs, counselling contacts and a map to essential services like local toilets and showers.

The contents of the locker are adjusted seasonally so that in winter they contain beanies and hoodies and in summer they have caps sunscreen and insect repellent.

“The homeless population has dramatically increased in Griffith and there are a number of people sleeping rough due to the high demand on services and the 0.07% vacancy rate for rental accommodation,” said Ms Deb Longhurst, Manager Crisis Accommodation, LCN YouthLinks.

“This partnership is so grateful to Beyond Bank for the commitment to social issues and in particular homelessness, and the opportunity to continue to provide this valuable service.”

“It has been a real privilege to partner with LCN and the Police Citizens Youth Club in Griffith which is doing some outstanding work in reaching out and connecting with young people in the community who are finding life a little bit tough,” said Ms Karen Garrod, Riverina Community Development Manager, Beyond Bank.

“As a customer-owned bank, we are always keen to support local frontline projects that deliver real results and in turn, build better and stronger communities.

“Freebeez Lockers is making a positive difference and so for us, helping out was an easy decision.”

Griffith City Council’s Community Development Coordinator, Peta Dummett said Council is pleased with the community support Beyond Bank is providing. 

“The much needed funding provided by Beyond Bank Griffith will ensure that the most vulnerable in our community have access to items when they need it the most,” said Ms Dummett.

Beyond Bank has also announced a new partnership with local disability support group Ningana Enterprises, providing $10,000 towards its Community Access and Centre Based programs.

Established in 1965, Ningana assists some 100 people with a disability and their families across the Riverina with a range of services that include short term accommodation, supported independent living, community access programs and supported employment.

“Ningana Enterprises is very excited to partner with Beyond Bank and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.  We intend to use this grant to introduce new IT opportunities for our participants, including new hardware, purchasing applications and a Smart Board,” said Fiona Durham CEO, Ningana Enterprises.

The donations were presented at a special ceremony held in Griffith on Wednesday 21 August.

Further media information contact: Georgina McGuinness 0488 247 777