We've awarded $60,000 in Grants to Business, Community, Individuals and Families across the Northern Rivers

With a little help from our friends at American Express, this year we've been able to deliver more support than ever before! Meet this year's Community Grants recipient's and follow their stories to help take back momentum and create a better future in our region.

Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital

Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital

Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital (BBWH) is non-for profit, and have launched Australia’s largest Mobile Wildlife Hospital. The mobile hospital offers expert veterinary care to native animals,  is fully self-sustainable and is ready to hit the road whenever there is a crisis impacting wildlife. Offering support during bushfire season and other natural disasters, this Grant will be used in partnership with Australian Seabird Rescue to secure a much-needed Sea Turtle Recovery Dry Docking System. This will bring a world-class enclosure to our shores and more advanced conservation strategies to continue efforts in wildlife rehabilitation and release, specifically for ill and injured sea turtles.

Precious Plastic Northern Rivers

Precious Plastic Northern Rivers

Precious Plastic Northern Rivers are looking to create a community-access plastic recycling centre. Instead of going into landfill or being sent overseas, the idea is to have plastic waste recycled in the Byron Shire and provided to local designers and craftspeople as a raw material for innovative use. Turning cheap raw materials into new, beautiful and useful creations. The SCCU Grant will cover the cost of purchasing three machines that help shred, melt, and recycle plastic collected from our local region.

GCB Environmental - EnviroSPEARS Green Technology

GCB Environmental - EnviroSPEARS Green Technology

GCB Environmental want to establish EnviroSPEARS as a member of the Enterprise Lab at Southern Cross University, and introduce the EnviroSPEARS technology to the Northern Rivers. EnviroSPEARS is a green technology designed for remediation of contaminants and other chlorinated toxins from soil and sediments, a proven technology developed by NASA. The EnviroSPEARS technology will support local agribusiness by providing a green alternative to remediation of previously unusable farm land by removing harmful DDT from within the soil.

Impactful Youth Project

Impactful Youth Project

Formerly Young Warrior Leadership Program, Impactful Youth Project is a four day camp for 11-16 year old young men and women: based on indigenous cultures – an initiation process marking the transition from child to adult. It’s a safe environment for young people to test themselves, in confidence, personal leadership, emotional literacy, and teamwork. The SCCU Grant will cover 50% of the cost, providing scholarships for up to 22 young warriors hoping to participate.

To learn more about the project click here.

Georgia & Gisela Conechado - Fundraiser for WIRES & Friends of the Koala

Georgia & Gisela Conechado - Fundraiser for WIRES & Friends of the Koala

Georgia and Gisela are a local family who were deeply concerned about the impact our recent bushfires had on our wildlife. They wanted to do something positive and have since created beautiful watercolour art works that will be used for fundraising. The cards will be printed and sold in local businesses to raise funds to support Friends of the Koala and WIRES Northern Rivers with their great work.  80% of proceeds will be donated to the charities and 20% invested back into the project, making it self-sustainable and future focused.

Pottsville Beach Community Hall Inc - Christmas Lunch

Pottsville Beach Community Hall Inc - Christmas Lunch

Pottsville Beach Community Hall Inc hosts the PBNC cook up team who collect rescued food weekly; prepare, cook and distribute healthy ‘homemade’ meals to people in need. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, without the installation of a commercial grade dishwasher for the hall, the annual Christmas lunch could not take place. However, the SCCU Grant will allow them to host the Christmas lunch this year and get the PBNC cook up team back in the kitchen.

Thankyou to Everyone Who Applied!

This year saw an overwhelming response with close to 200 entries from across our region. We thank everyone who applied, voted for their favourites, and showed their support for this program. No matter the result, we encourage all who applied to share your stories with us throughout the year and look forward to your applications in 2021.

  • Key Dates

    Thursday 6th August: Grants Applications Open

    Wednesday 30th September: Applications Close

    Tuesday 6th October: Finalists Announced and Voting opens

    Friday 30th October, 5pm: Voting Closes

    Monday 16th November: Recipients Announced!

  • Categories

    All applications will need to self allocate from the categories below however we provide this to encourage ideas, and have an ”other’ categories because we understand not one size fits all.

    Art and culture

    Initiatives related to the celebration, preservation or ongoing impact of arts, cultural and heritage projects in the Northern Rivers and Tweed region. Example projects may include equipment, services and/or facilities such as community arts projects, restoration of items or areas with historical or cultural significance, performances.


    Initiatives that support imparting information or knowledge, skill sharing or improve delivery of teaching and education services. Example projects may include equipment, services and/or facilities such as teaching aides and resources, reading programs, creating access and opportunities to engage in education.

    Sport and recreation

    Initiatives providing sport and recreational benefit to the wider community. Example projects may include equipment, services and/or facilities such as shade for events, sporting equipment, uniforms, upgrading facilities, first aid equipment, tournaments, and training programs.

    Environment and sustainability

    Initiatives that focus on building awareness, preservation, engagement with and/or sustainability of the natural environment. Example projects may include equipment, services and/or facilities such as community gardens, sustainability education, restoration or care of ecosystems.

    Health and well-being

    Improving community access to health and well-being services. Example projects may include equipment, services and/or facilities for youth groups, mentoring programs, community health services, health education, training and development programs.


    Initiatives promoting our region as the place to holiday. Example projects include activity programs/attractions to bring tourists to the area and promote the Northern Rivers highlights, education on our region, and big name events.

    Digital and Tech

    Improving community access to digital and tech availability and quality in the Northern Rivers. Ideas to drive improvements, upgrades, change and aim in the betterment of our area using tech advances.

    Hospitality and Retail

    Initiatives enhancing community lifestyle and improvement in the hospitality and retail industries. Examples include ideas to introduce new and exciting business operations to our community.


    Any other ideas that do not fall into the above categories.

  • The Little Details

    *We aim to make the application process simple and give every applicant an equal opportunity to produce a quality application. This includes questions to guide you through submission criteria, including category and whether you are applying under the ‘Take Back Momentum’ or ‘Create a Better Future’ themes.  Within your application, you can also outline the amount you are applying for as the SCCU Grants Program provides between $1k and $20k to successful applicants, awarded amount limits stated are subject to change

    While we welcome individuals, businesses, families and community groups to consider applying, unfortunately the following are ineligible for support through this program:

    • Individual pursuits such as debt repayments, travel or ongoing medical treatment
    • Events where another financial institution, bank or insurance competitor are a sponsor
    • Programs that could be detrimental to public health or safety, discriminatory, or offensive to the community
    • Projects of a political or religious nature
    • Events that encourage smoking, substance abuse, irresponsible alcohol consumption or gambling
    • Organisations and events outside the Northern Rivers Region


    Additionally, the following Terms and Condition’s apply:

    • During the application process, it’s expected you’ll be able to explain how the funding would be used should you be successful, and allow SCCU to follow and publish the progress of your Grant allocation for a minimum of 12 months. This may include requests to provide media content or imagery that SCCU can publish to share your progress.
    • Completion of the application form is a critical part of our evaluation process which we use to measure your application against our selection criteria.
    • We ask for an initial photograph to be submitted with each application, and upon providing, permission for SCCU to use in advertising is granted
    • All applications will be reviewed after the closing date of 30 of September 2020, with all applications that meet the eligibility criteria considered. Finalists will be advised via email, along with details of the voting process to follow.
    • The voting numbers received during the process form a part of the decision process to award Grants, but do not determine recipients alone.
    • One vote allowed per email address
    • All eligible applicants will be advised via email within 2 business days of the outcome of their application after the successful recipients have been determined.
    • If your application is successful, we will contact you to award funding and discuss ongoing engagement. If your application is unsuccessful we encourage you to reapply next year, as well as consider applying for our Referrer Rewards Program.
    • All applicants must satisfy all relevant and applicable terms have been appropriately disclosed.

    For more information in relation to eligibility criteria please contact us.

  • 2019 Recipients

    Reforest Now

    A non-profit organisation based in Byron Bay, Reforest Now grows and plants trees to combat climate change and restore ecosystems. The Reforest Now nursery is located in the Mullumbimby Community Gardens, and grows 23,000 native Australian trees each year. The nursery is currently at maximum capacity with three tunnels, and Reforest Now will use our Community Grant to build a 4th misting house tunnel, that will increase their capacity by 100% (an additional 23,000 trees per year) to help meet the growing demand for trees to be replanted in our region.

    Shedding Community Workshop

    Shedding Community Workshop aims to provide a unique, supportive and ‘hands-on’ workshop environment for members of the community to come together and develop sustainable skills in carpentry, building and everything in between. A popular community workshop pilot already, this Community Grant will be used to meet the growing demand for, and provide equitable access to, a range of up-skilling workshops, inclusively benefitting all members of our community – young and old, men and women, parents and families. Our $5,000 will provide an additional 20 free community workshops, every Friday for a 5 month period, where members of our community will learn life skills, that will help create a connected, resilient and sustainable community

    The S.H.I.F.T. Project

    The SHIFT Kitchen at Bangalow Heritage House is a community initiative that supports women experiencing homelessness and disadvantage in the Byron Shire. It aims to increase the health and wellbeing of women by increasing their knowledge and skills in healthy cooking, and increasing their employability. Our Community Grant will introduce a hospitality employment path that will provide professional training for project participants, including Food Safety Supervisor courses and Barista Training courses, along with the equipment to provide them skills to return to the workforce.

Through their Community Grants program, Southern Cross Credit Union have demonstrated their commitment to environmental sustainability  in our region in a number of ways. As well as funding projects to recycle plastic waste and remediate contaminated soil, they have supported Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital to provide expert veterinary care to native animals. Many of our patients are sea turtles, and  SCCU’s $10,000 grant will be used in partnership with Australian Seabird Rescue to secure a much-needed Sea Turtle Recovery Dry Docking System, assisting with their rehabilitation before being released back into their ocean home. We’re so very grateful to SCCU for their support and applaud their commitment to conservation and sustainability projects.    
Dr Stephen Van Mil - Founder and CEO, Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital
Southern Cross Credit Unit is an outstanding example of a business that is all about doing right by the communities that it operates in. By supporting local organisations such as ours (Positive Change for Marine Life), they are helping to address major issues around sustainability and environmental management. As is true to character for a locally focused, community-oriented business, they not only support us financially, but by actively attending and getting involved in community events. We are proud to have SCCU as a long term partner for our projects and campaigns, as we strive to foster greater community custodianship of the incredible environments we call home.
Dane Marx - Positive Change For Marine Life
"Access to having the same uniform really helped us to create a team environment where all women feel they belong. Quality footwear is also really important not only for safety but also for physical comfort as the work does require spending a lot of time on your feet.  The support from SCCU has made all the difference and we’re so grateful”
Sam Birmingham - Operations Manager for the Linen SHIFT
"Sea Turtles are often presented due to swallowing fishing line, hooks and plastic, and injuries such as boat strike. Whilst the expert team at Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital can undertake life-saving surgeries, the recovery and rehabilitation is critical in the process. The grant from SCCU will allow us to build a Sea Turtle Recovery Dry Docking facility, which will mean that our cases recover fully and quickly, and can be released back into the ocean where they belong"
Stephen Van Mil - Founder and CEO, Byron Wildlife Hospital
"The Pottsville Beach Community Hall is the only large indoor community venue in the Pottsville area. The hall benefits many people in our village and is hired on a regular basis for weekly activities; Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre Cook-up team, dance studio, adult exercise classes, yoga, senior life ball activities and regular Sunday church services. The hall is also used for many community events including the annual Miss Pottsville Ball and RSL ceremonies. The SCCU Grant providing the installation of a commercial dishwasher will be of great benefit to hall hirers for functions and the Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centres’ Cook-Up team who distribute meals to people in need every week.  The timely installation of a commercial dishwasher will also be an enormous help to our volunteer ‘dishwasher-uppers’ at our Christmas Day community lunch."
Janet Tkachenko - Pottsville Beach Community Hall Inc
"This grant provides us with a welcome boost to introduce the Impactful Youth Project into the Northern Rivers region. We’ve been conducting camps in Queensland for seven years, and we’re ready to introduce them to our own region. To have received the endorsement of SCCU means there is support for it to be expanded to this region. That’s exciting for us, because we consider the training of young people as sacred and important at this time. The more we can provide them with resources to contribute to a stronger humanity the stronger they will feel to lead our communities into the future.”
Kirsty Greenshields - Impactful Youth Project
Club Lennox & SCCU partner up to support largest regional mental health unit in NSW

Thanks to the efforts of the annual Club Lennox Christmas Tree fundraising drive and Southern Cross Credit Union (SCCU), a cheque for over $3,800 has been presented to Our Kids - Northern Rivers Children's Health Fund. Receiving the cheque on behalf of Our Kids, Fundraising Coordinator Rebekka Battista said With restrictions...

Thanks to the efforts of the annual Club Lennox Christmas Tree fundraising drive and Southern Cross Credit Union (SCCU),...

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Banking Re-imagined has Arrived in Lismore & Mullumbimby

Australia’s Mutual Lender of the Year, Southern Cross Credit Union (SCCU) has re-opened the doors to their redesigned Lismore and Mullumbimby Financial Service Centre (FSC) and it’s catching local attention. At a time when many have had to pull back on spending, SCCU is doing the opposite. Reinvesting into the...

Australia’s Mutual Lender of the Year, Southern Cross Credit Union (SCCU) has re-opened the doors to their redesigned Lismore...

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Australia’s Mutual Lender of the Year awards $60K in Community Grants

Southern Cross Credit Union have today announced the six successful recipients of this year's Community Grants program, awarded to families, community groups and small business. After opening up the program beyond Community Groups, the local Credit Union received a record-breaking175 applications and over 5000 community votes, generating more public interest than...

Southern Cross Credit Union have today announced the six successful recipients of this year's Community Grants program, awarded to families,...

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A look at our 2020 Community Goals Partners – Australian Seabird Rescue Edition!

Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) is a grass-roots community group with a passion for coastal wildlife rescue and conservation. With branches along the coastline of New South Wales and sister-groups around the country, ASRs strategic objective is to reduce the human impact on wildlife through rescue, research and education. ASR members...

Australian Seabird Rescue (ASR) is a grass-roots community group with a passion for coastal wildlife rescue and conservation. With branches...

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