From dragon boat paddles to defibrillators, community groups and organisations from across the Gold Coast and northern NSW regions have secured funding from Gold Coast Airport’s 2023 Community Benefit Fund.
A total of 27 community groups received about $1000 each towards specific initiatives, in areas including health and wellbeing, community safety, education, environment and sustainability, arts and culture and Indigenous projects.
Queensland Airports Limited (QAL) Chief Executive Officer Amelia Evans said the business was thrilled to resume the initiative, which paused for three years during the pandemic.
“We are passionate about connecting communities and are grateful we can do this through our Community Benefit Fund as well as our core business,” Ms Evans said.
“Community groups and local businesses have been hit hard over the last few years, and it hasn’t been an easy road to recovery.
“We’re delighted to do what we can to help organisations make positive contributions to their local communities.”
Tweed Dragons Boat Club, a successful recipient of the 2023 Community Benefit Fund, purchased five dragon boat paddles with the funds. Club President Darren Sprott said the support had come at an important time for the club.
“We are flying from the Gold Coast to Kuala Lumpur for the Penang International Dragon Boat Festival in December– so the funds have come at a great time,” Mr Sprott said.
“Dragon boat paddling offers team members the ability to be part of a diverse and inclusive community, providing fun, friendship, fitness and fierce competition. The club is often seen as a gateway to new friendships and connections and enables people to find a new sport at all ages and fitness levels.
“Our club is made up of approximately 50 passionate paddlers who live across the Gold Coast and Tweed regions. We train multiple times a week and rely on fundraising and support from the community to maintain our equipment so that we can keep racing.”
Another successful recipient, Life Education Queensland, created a new Healthy Harold educational resource with the funds. An iconic Australian mascot, Harold the giraffe, has been helping to empower young people to make healthy choices for over 40 years.
Life Education Queensland Program Delivery Manager, Sue Osmond, engaged renowned puppet designer and Gold Coast local, Jarrod Boutcher, to create a new Healthy Harold prototype to reflect the digital mascot.
“The new Healthy Harold looks so expressive and animated and is bound to enliven our program delivery in schools across Queensland,” Ms Osmond said.
“We're so grateful for the support of Gold Coast Airport to help fund this project. Each Healthy Harold takes many hours to create by hand and the grant means we were able to create the prototype and get the first of our new Harolds out in the field.”
Other initiatives that received funding include a youth marine conservation project on South Stradbroke Island and cultural dance lessons for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at Palm Beach Currumbin State High School.
The Community Benefit Fund is run by GCA’s parent company, Queensland Airports Limited, which has supported more than 200 groups and initiatives since 2016, providing more than $200,000 in funding.
GCA will launch its 2024 Community Benefit Fund early next year.
2023 Gold Coast Airport Community Benefit Fund Recipients: