Staff from National Australia Bank in Lismore visit residents of Ozanam Villa Hostel as part of the Corporate Volunteering scheme. Pictured are National Australia Bank Lismore branch manager Joseph Newton and Ozanam Villa resident Ena Jones.
Staff from National Australia Bank in Lismore visit residents of Ozanam Villa Hostel as part of the Corporate Volunteering scheme. Pictured are National Australia Bank Lismore branch manager Joseph Newton and Ozanam Villa resident Ena Jones. Cathy Adams

Banking on volunteers

WHO said big banks give nothin' back?

Whoever it was should eat their hat, because a collaborative effort between Lismore Neighbourhood Centre's Community Visiting Scheme and Volunteering Northern Rivers has National Australia Bank employees giving up their time for free.

Lismore NAB branch has rostered eight of its bankers to visit Ozanam Villa aged-care facility in Lismore for an hour each fortnight. The workers will chat, drink tea and spend time with elderly residents.

"The people who live here don't have a lot of contact with the outside world, so it's good for them to have visitors," Volunteering Northern Rivers member Sally Bunyan said.

Lismore NAB branch manager Joseph Newton said the bank's employees were "happy to do it".

"It's good to just come and have a chat with [the residents]," he said.

The Community Visiting Scheme in Lismore has been going for 19 years but never previously organised "corporate volunteering".

"The corporate volunteer program is to encourage businesses in the district to allow their employees time off during working hours to volunteer," Ms Bunyan said.

"It's fantastic that a business isn't just trying to get profits out of its customers but is willing to give back to its community and be part of the community.

"It would be lovely to think that the business gets some kudos from this because they deserve it."

Volunteering Northern Rivers has also organised for Lismore Commonwealth Bank employees to collect toiletries and deliver them to mental health patients at Lismore Base Hospital.

Mr Newton said such volunteering programs helped employees bond.

"It helps with team work because it's a big thing for everyone to have a common interest every week or so which can give them something to talk about," he explained.

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