Phi­lan­thropists ac­knowl­edged

Benalla Ensign - - News - By Kenji Sato

Lo­cal phi­lan­thropists were recog­nised in Fed­eral Par­lia­ment last week for their work in help­ing chil­dren from poor fam­i­lies achieve their true po­ten­tial.

Mem­ber for Indi Cathy McGowan ac­knowl­edged the work of Be­nalla’s To­mor­row To­day Foun­da­tion in a speech to par­lia­ment.

‘‘They do fan­tas­tic work, us­ing lo­cal money to do lo­cal good,’’ Ms McGowan said.

‘‘Their work with kids from preschool right through is mak­ing a huge dif­fer­ence to my com­mu­nity in Be­nalla, so I want to thank you.’’

But Ms McGowan said there was still ‘‘work to be done’’ by the gov­ern­ment to re­duce the tax bur­den on char­i­ties, such as the To­mor­row To­day Foun­da­tion.

The foun­da­tion’s chair Sally Gam­ble was at Par­lia­ment House talk­ing to min­is­ters and se­na­tors about the im­por­tance of phi­lan­thropy in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘Be­nalla is a com­mu­nity that has sig­nif­i­cant so­cioe­co­nomic dis­ad­van­tage and our chil­dren face long-term ed­u­ca­tional con­se­quences that you don’t see in more ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties,’’ Gam­ble said.

But its not all bad news, ac­cord­ing to Ms Gam­ble, who said she had seen sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments dur­ing the past few years.

‘‘When we look at the cen­sus data we see that the num­ber of chil­dren de­vel­op­men­tally on track has im­proved and there’s been a re­duc­tion in the num­ber of chil­dren at risk,’’ she said.

‘‘When we look across Be­nalla at the work be­ing done to en­sure chil­dren ar­rive at school ready to learn, we can see that pos­i­tive change is hap­pen­ing.

‘‘There’s a great deal of good­will and de­sire to help our chil­dren to achieve.

‘‘We have across our com­mu­nity a great many vol­un­teers and dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions to help turn that around.’’

The To­mor­row To­day Foun­da­tion works with more than 140 lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing clubs, com­mu­nity groups and gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Peo­ple want­ing to vol­un­teer can sign up on their web­site on www.tom­mor­row­to­

‘‘We are al­ways look­ing for more lo­cal vol­un­teers who are keen to sup­port young peo­ple in our com­mu­nity,’’ Ms Gam­ble said. Ms

Thrilled: To­mor­row To­day’s Sally Gam­ble and Liz Chap­man with Cathy McGowan.

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