$55,000 donated to groups
THE upside of pokies: That's how Lismore Workers Club treasurer Barry Lampard described the Club Grants he was handing out to various community groups from the Lismore area yesterday.
Club Grants are a requirement of the Gaming Machine Tax Act where clubs receive a tax rebate for money given to eligible community groups from gaming machine profits over $1 million.
Amongst the recipients were disability service providers, youth organisations, community groups and returned servicemen; in all 14 groups received grants between $900-$5000, with a total of $55,000 being handed out.
Workers Club marketing manager Ted Hoddinott said it was part of their "spirit of social responsibility" and that they were proud to be able to "work with the community to achieve worthwhile benefits for those who need it most".
Lifeline manager Niall Mulligan said whatever cynicism there might have been about taking money from poker machines; "you couldn't help but be impressed by the tapestry of community services on offer in Lismore that are coming forward".
One recipient was Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council who received $5000 for a program to engage boys in education, who for various reasons can't be at school.
Accepting the cheque was Kim Edwards, head teacher of distance education.
She said the program was a collaboration between several organisations including Juvenile Justice, Nortech and Southern Cross Distance Education.
"The program provides boys with an opportunity to improve their self esteem, their life skills and social skills," Ms Edwards said.
Currently there are 14 boys involved in the program, many who have been referred as part of the Department of Juvenile Justice, but several who have come forward having heard about the program and having not attended school regularly for some time.
The program assists in improving literacy and numeracy skills.