Supporting local initiatives

Sailability Leslie Dam are starting their project to create fun opportunities for people with disabilities. Pictures: SAMANTHA WANTLING

By Lucy Waldron

Acciona celebrated the achievements of the Southern Downs community at a special morning tea on Friday, 7 June, recognising the recipients of their small grants and scholarship program. The event highlighted Acciona’s commitment to supporting local initiatives in health, education, sustainability, conservation, and cultural development.

This year, Acciona funded 35 projects, extending over $114,000 in support, compared to 32 projects funded last year.

The Small grants for the north side of the Southern Downs are as follows.

Condamine Headwater Group plan to use their money to create a native plant nursery and provide for the community who would normally have to travel to Crows Nest.

Waringhehn Aboriginal Corporation chairperson and Githabul woman Melissa Chalmers said they will be using their grant towards signage in the sacred sites in the Warwick Allora areas.

The Allora Landcare group will use their funds toward their current main project which is the Allora Mountain a 400 acre public reserve adjacent to the Allora township.

Representing the group, Hugh said “We didn’t know when we started this project about 13 years ago that it’s public land, but there’s about 38 scar trees on the mountain, grinding stones and sign trees. So, we think it’s a very important area for the Githabul people and we will continue to maintain it.”

Sailability Leslie Dam received their certificate from Acciona which will go towards supporting the club.

Glen, a representative for Sailability Leslie Dam said they are looking to start up this project so people with disabilities in the Southern Downs have something to do.

“The boats are specially made for people with disabilities, they are hard to tip and are very safe,” he said.

“Unfortunately there are not a lot of things for people with disabilities to do, so we are looking to expand that.”

The Belinda McGowan Foundation were also recipients of the funding and they have chosen to use the money to put a cuddle bed in the Texas Hospital.

Similarly, the Warwick Hospital will be partnering with the Stanthorpe Hospital to utilise their funding in the way of enhancing Southern Downs maternity services.

Alison from the Warwick Hospital said women who are expecting a baby can be allocated a midwife who will follow them through that journey, through the birth and six weeks postpartum.

“This grant is going to allow us to buy each of these midwives their own bags and equipment, like stethoscope, baby scales that they will take out so that women actually don’t even have to come into the hospital for assessments,” Alison said.

The Deuchar-Massie Hall committee are planning to warm up their space and improve their water tanks to provide the best quality of space for all those who use it.

Margaret from the Warwick Arches said they will be bringing power to the land that they use and continuing the move towards sustainably they will be putting in solar panels thanks to the grant they have received.

James from Killarney Memorial Aged Care said they have identified some gaps in their residents’ mental wellbeing.

“The grant money is going towards a modified bus suitable for wheelchairs, that will help people get to specialist appointments as well as around the community which will reduce social isolation,” James said.

The Warwick Penathrun used their funding to improve race two in their event by lining the course with markers for the runners to follow.

President Neil said everyone was very appreciative of the markers and they will be using them for many years to come.

Debbie from Country Heart Events which specialises in handmade artisan events will use the funding to enhance their workshops as part of Jumpers and Jazz which will showcase how to create sustainable clothing with recycled products and get the youth involved.

Karina from the Warwick Art Gallery will also be using their funding as part of their Jumpers and Jazz exhibition.

“We wanted to do something big and exciting for the community and particularly the children so we will have these incredible inflatable animals that a stitched together as well as costumes and storytelling,” she said.

From the south side of the Southern Downs, the three notable projects granted were the Stanthorpe Mens Shed, St Joseph’s Parent and Friends Association and Granite Belt Sustainability Action Network.

Wei Song Wong was one of the successful recipients of the Acciona scholarship program. He is currently in his first year at UNISQ studying an Honours degree in Engineering.

“I would love the opportunity to work with Acciona, either at one of the wind farms or a solar farm throughout Australia one day,” he said.

Steve, a representative for the University of Southern Queensland said they are very grateful for the Acciona and the funds they have provided in support of the scholarships.

“What this means is, the gift from Acciona has been invested into the university and matched at two for one and that investment provides an ongoing scholarship and support for the students,” Steve said.

Acciona’s efforts underline their dedication to fostering sustainable development and supporting the vibrant community in Southern Downs. The projects funded this year reflect a broad range of initiatives aimed at improving community life and preserving cultural heritage.