Fields cash is flowing

October 25, 2017

Biralee Preschool students Thomas Cole, Monique Keel, Memphis Saunders, Amity Ewert, Danielea Canas and Charlie Gray in front of their new recycled robot installation, funded from the 2017 Strawberry Fields Festival Community Grants Scheme.

The Strawberry Fields Festival is set to donate $25,000 to eight local organisations as part of its annual community grants scheme.

By setting aside a portion of every ticket sale to the festival and fundraising through activities on site — such as the Wildlands Community BBQ — the grant pool will help fund local projects.

The money will benefit Tocumwal Public School, Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce, Finley’s Biralee Preschool, Tocumwal Optimists, St Joseph’s Primary School Finley, Berrigan Country Women’s Association, Tocumwal Foreshore Committee and Tocumwal Preschool.

Held in Tocumwal each year since 2011, the Strawberry Fields Festival started its grants scheme in 2015. Its aim was to support local initiatives which enhance community economic development and improve the quality of everyday life in the Southern Riverina.

Biralee Preschool director Jess Williams said the $4000 it received would go towards running several community based workshops on sustainable living, as well as the construction of a ‘bush tucker’ garden.

‘‘We’ve already used some of the money to create recycled installations in the playground of the preschool, with two big robots made out of recycled car parts,” Ms Williams said.

‘‘Additionally, we’re using the funds for our Biralee Preschool and OOSH Sustainability Workshops and Open Day which is being held on November 25.

‘‘For this we’re having Ross Abberfield from Moira Shire to talk about fruit flies, Rose Tilley to talk about plant propagation and a member of our Indigenous community will facilitate a bush tucker garden.

‘‘We’re happy to continue supporting Strawberry Fields Festival as obviously it gives back to our community year after year.

‘‘For us, we’re able to continue showcase sustainability workshops as part of our preschool program and let the wider community come in and look at our services.’’

Sustainability is also the focus at Tocumwal Preschool which will use funds to establish a permaculture garden at the school, while St Joseph’s Finley is planning to bring together community service clubs and volunteers for a special luncheon.

The grant funds will allow Tocumwal Public School to continue to run a program delivered by the Blue Earth Foundation, to maintain student well-being through physical activity.

The Tocumwal Foreshore Committee’s allocation will help replace a section of fencing damaged by last year’s floods, while Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce will promote the various events and activities that occur in the region by installing flagpoles and flag holders at the town entrances.

Other projects will see the Tocumwal Optimists provide funds for disadvantaged families to purchase season tickets to the Tocumwal pool and Berrigan Country Women’s Association replace chairs at its facility which have been used since 1964.

This year’s annual Strawberry Fields Festival is being held in Tocumwal from November 16-19.

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