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Patti Lettice with her son Noel

Whitehaven is taking a new approach to community investment, providing the local community with greater transparency and even more input into how Whitehaven’s discretionary sponsorships and donations fund is distributed.

The new approach includes the introduction of four application rounds per year, with each round to allocate $50,000 for a total of $200,000 annually, the establishment of a community-based Committee to help administer the funds, and public annual reporting of contributions.

The available funds are in addition to the approximately $200,000 committed each year to long-term partnerships including the Clontarf Foundation, Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, Country Education Foundation and more.

The first round opened on October 1st, when Whitehaven called on community organisations, local event organisers and other interested groups to lodge an application. The Committee comprising local community representatives, chaired by Whitehaven, met in November to allocate the first round of funds and the chosen applicants will be notified in December.

“We’re incredibly proud of the contribution we’ve made through sponsorships and donations over the years, with millions donated to support community groups, local events and other worthy causes across North West NSW,” said Whitehaven’s General Manager Community Engagement, Andrew Garratt.

“Our new approach will ensure we can continue to play an important supporting role, while also providing greater transparency over the decision-making process and enabling local community members to have a greater say in how funds are allocated.”

“What’s not changing is the types of initiatives we support, the total amount of funding available, or the information required for the application – instead we’re making it easier for applicants to plan for and secure funding.”

“We know many community groups and organisations are doing it tough as a result of COVID-19 impacting their traditional fundraising methods and we’re determined to help in any way we can.”

Community representatives have welcomed the change and the opportunity to partner with Whitehaven.

“Many of the community groups and local events in our area are reliant on the support of Council and organisations like Whitehaven to stay afloat,” said Russell Stewart, President Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s fantastic to see Whitehaven’s ongoing commitment to the communities in which it operates. This new transparent and inclusive approach will help to ensure the funds are directed where they’re most needed.”

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