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COMMUNITY BANK A LIFE SAVER

By Duncan Horscroft on June 6, 2017 in News

Photo: Olive Yeroc

Bronte Surf Club’s equipment ranks have been bolstered by the addition of a new inflatable rescue boat (IRB) courtesy of the Clovelly Community Branch of Bendigo Bank.

As part of their ongoing commitment to give back 80 per cent of their profits to support local community organisations such as surf clubs, the local bank presented a cheque to the Bronte club, which enabled it to add another rescue boat to its fleet.

Bronte Surf Club president Basil Scaffidi said the generosity of the local Bendigo Bank helps Bronte maintain a strong standard of safety during the patrol seasons.

He said the club had been the recipient of the bank’s generosity for more than a decade following a decision by Clovelly Bendigo Bank director Andrew Winters to regularly donate an IRB to the Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee surf clubs.

“We take it in turns and every three years the Bronte club gets a new boat,” he said. “The IRBs are invaluable and are an integral part of surf rescue.

“Around 20 per cent of rescues at Bronte involve IRBs and they play an incredible part in helping to save lives.”

He said the club was proud of its strong record of no lives lost during the patrol seasons for around 25 years, and he credited the changes in surf lifesaving methods, such as the introduction of the inflatable boats, for helping keep the beach safe.

“It’s vital to get to a person in trouble in the surf as quick as you can,” he said. “And because Bronte can be such a treacherous beach, an IRB can get through the break a lot faster than a swimmer or rescue board.

“The size of the surf and how far a swimmer is out to sea determines the length of time it takes for a rescue, but in most cases an IRB can get there quickly.

“Without the support of sponsors such as Bendigo Bank we would find it hard to keep our equipment up to date, and it is a great testament to the local Community Branch that its focus is on the community and helping to save lives.”

The Clovelly Community Branch is not unlike surf clubs in its management, as it is run by a voluntary board of directors who give up their time to ensure the bank is run efficiently, and the board operates the bank as a franchise of the Bendigo Bank.

“Our charter is to give up to 80 per cent of our profits directly back to support local community organisations such as Bronte Surf Club,” Nicola Powell, Community Partnership Manager, Clovelly Community Branch, said.

“We choose not to have an advertising budget as this would take funds away from our supported community groups.

“We have been serving the community for 15 years as a philanthropic bank and to date we have given over $1 million back to our community via sponsorships and grants.”

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