Rabobank has announced a partnership with Riverina-based organisation Boys to the Bush that will see a new “community hub” established in Wagga Wagga offering preventive interventions for males aged between nine and 22.
The agribusiness banking specialist’s Rabobank Community Fund and Rabo Client Councils are providing over $300,000 in a one-year partnership for Boys to the Bush to invest in the development of the new facility.
Rabobank’s Rabo Client Council manager, Yvette Loyson said the bank was pleased to be able to back an outstanding initiative, providing tangible, meaningful benefits to rural communities. “The program aims to support boys become better men in the future,” she said.
“Boys to the Bush – which operates in regional New South Wales and north east Victoria – works closely with local businesses and farmer groups to organise group and individual ‘MENtor’ youth visits, working bees and guided work experience opportunities to assist young men join the workforce and contribute to their local economy.”
“Boys to the Bush aligns with a number of the key themes at the centre of work being undertaken by the Rabo Client Councils – groups of the bank’s clients, who work with Rabobank to address industry and community challenges in farming and agribusiness – and the Rabo Community Fund to invest in the sustainability and vitality of rural communities,” she said.
The Boys to the Bush initiative was established by three New South Wales-based high school teachers – Adam DeMamiel, Richard Leahy and Tim Sanson – who had “watched too many boys from disadvantaged backgrounds slipping through society’s cracks”.
Boys to the Bush partnership manager, Matt Seiter said the funding provided by Rabobank will be going towards establishing a new camp/community hub in Wagga Wagga. “In recent years, Boys to the Bush has been servicing the Wagga Wagga community from our bases in Albury and Leeton – we are looking forward to having a permanent home in Wagga Wagga,” he said.
“Since 2017, Boys to the Bush has impacted over 7,000 lives, across New South Wales and Victoria, through involvement in camps, mentoring programs, school and education programs, alternative care arrangements and community engagement days.
“In the first year of working in the Wagga Wagga community, Boys to the Bush aims to positively impact the lives of 196 boys and young men,” Mr Seiter said.
“The partnership with Rabobank is set to leave a permanent legacy in the Wagga Wagga community,” he said.
Lockhart district mixed grain/sheep farmer Phil Bouffler is a member of the Riverina and Northern Victorian Client Council and identified the opportunity for the Rabo Client Council to support Boys to the Bush.
Mr Bouffler said the Boys to the Bush program is addressing a number of key themes that are also a focus for the local Rabo Client Council, including – long-term industry capacity, sustainability, rural wellbeing, adaption/disruption, rural/urban connection and natural disaster resilience.
“The program is allowing young men the opportunity to visit local farms and meet with local farmers – opening up a whole new world of experiences and possible employment opportunities,” he said. “It’s exciting to see new connections develop, leading to opportunities for apprenticeships and seasonal work appointments.
“As a long-term Rabobank client, I’m very proud of the way both the Client Council and bank have recognised the significance of this program.”
In March 2023, Boys to the Bush, was also recognised as the inaugural recipient of the Rabobank Community Leadership Award – designed to honour outstanding rural community initiatives.
Denise Shaw Will Banks
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Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Rabobank Australia
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Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 38 countries, servicing the needs of more than nine million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 90 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.