Local families will soon have access to upgraded play equipment at Pebbles Playgroup thanks to $11,000 in funding from Queensland Country Credit Union’s Good for Good Community Grants.

Community groups across Queensland were invited to apply for a share of $100,000 to fund a particular project, with successful applicants ranging from a road safety training track for young cyclists, to an emergency helicopter landing pad for an isolated town.

The playgroup’s Grants Officer Nicole Emerick said the community would benefit greatly from the upgraded play equipment.

“We are the only organisation in Weipa that offers organised sessions for families and children to participate together in educational and social experiences,” Ms Emerick said.

“The two accredited kindergartens in Weipa are currently filled to capacity with waiting lists, which means there are some children who are missing out on the important experiences that kindy provides, particularly in developing their readiness for school,” she said.

“Our playgroup is for all children not yet at school, but has become especially important to the children who are due to start prep next year but have been prevented from attending kindergarten due to vacancy issues.

“We already have a qualified early childhood educator to provide structured educational sessions and activities during playgroup, and the addition of new and interesting equipment will extend the outcomes we can offer families.”

An element of Queensland Country’s Good for Good Community Grants involves the concept of paying it forward, with grant recipients partnering with the Credit Union to fundraise 10% of their grant amount for Ronald McDonald House Charities. That fundraising will be boosted with an additional $20,000 contribution from Queensland Country.

Queensland Country Local Manager Nina Hall said her team was proud to give back to the community in a tangible way.

“The Credit Union received 64 applications from not-for-profit groups around the state, who were seeking funding of between $5,000 and $30,000 to get their important projects off the ground,” Ms Hall said.

“It was really heart-warming to see how much good is being done at a grass-roots level in our communities,” he said.

“Choosing the grant recipients was a difficult challenge for our judging committee, but ultimately the winners were chosen based on the genuine benefits their projects would bring to the community, as well as their ability to pay it forward, or do ‘good for good’ by fundraising for our charity partner.”

This is the first year that Queensland Country has run the Good for Good program, and follows a long history of supporting local initiatives.

“We have injected $2 million into community projects since 2005,” Ms Hall said.

“It’s all part of our difference as a customer owned banking organisation. Without external shareholders to pay dividends to, we can invest our profits into local communities while providing the best possible products and services to our Members.”