By Candyce Grew
OVER $45,000 will be injected into eight community clubs in Emerald following the highly successful, inaugural Central Highlands Community gala.
Held at the Emerald Town Hall on Saturday, April 24, the event was the brainchild of founding member and businessman Scott Gooderham.
Mr Gooderham explained about six months ago, several business operators saw an opportunity to give back to the region.
They knew they would soon be approached by local clubs and organisations, seeking sponsorship, and decided to pool their money together to give their donations some real purpose.
The grant recipients on the night included the Emerald Eagles Football Club, Borilla Kindergarten, Emerald Seals Swimming Club, Emerald Kart Club, Emerald Ski Club, Emerald Pottery Club, Crime Stoppers Emerald and Emerald Brothers Cricket Club.
Mr Gooderham said their original goal was to raise $100,000.
“We raised around $60,000, which was $40,000 short of our goal,” Mr Gooderham said.
“We had about 130 people attend the gala, we were hoping for 180.
“What we did achieve was a really amazing, an intimate evening and the feedback was just, wow,” he said.
While $45,000 will be handed out to the selected community organisations, Mr Gooderham said the remaining money would be used to cover expenses from the night and be held over to next year’s event and donated to other clubs.
The night saw inspirational guest speakers including Shanna Whan.
Shanna Whan is a rural advocate, a finalist in the NSW Rural Woman of the Year Awards, and the founder of a volunteer-led support group called Sober in the Country, which supports more than 250 people.
Ms Whan has fought her own battle with alcoholism and knows firsthand the difficulties of accessing treatment in regional areas.
Comedian Steve Allison was the emcee for the night alongside headliners Billy “Queenslander” Moore and Mr Body Language Allan Pease.
Mr Gooderham explained a review panel helped decide who got the funding. The group’s projects were assessed on what value they contributed to the community and their sustainable, long-reaching implications.
For more information about the Central Highlands Community visit www.centralhighlandscommunity.org.?
By Candyce Grew