Staff at Wallan’s Bendigo Bank branch celebrated the one-year anniversary of its new building in February with free cupcakes and coffee for customers.

BENDIGO Bank will support community groups across Mitchell Shire with COVID recovery grants of up to $500.

The Bank’s Wallan, Kilmore and Broadford branches, operated by NorCen Financial Services, will provide one-off payments to community groups throughout the region.

Community engagement and marketing officer Kate Boulton said the bank’s mission was to support the community.

“Applications are open to all eligible groups that apply for general funding with us, and applications are open until the end of the financial year,” she said.

“They are for groups like not-for-profit organisations, clubs, schools et cetera. They can all apply.”

Ms Boulton said the grants were a recognition that it had been a difficult 12 months for groups in Mitchell Shire.

“It’s a one-off COVID grant for each group of $500 to assist with things like insurance fees, membership fees, electricity bills – anything that is going to be helpful, because a lot of them wouldn’t have had much fundraising ability in the past year,” she said.

“We understand that many community groups have done it tough in the past 12 months, and that’s why we wanted to introduce the COVID recovery grants. Let’s hope these grants can keep our groups going and we can get back to having the community thriving this year.”

Bendigo Bank’s Wallan branch recently celebrated its first anniversary of the opening of its new building, marking the date by providing free cupcakes and coffee for customers.

Wallan branch manager Carol Ryan thanked the community for its support during a tumultuous first year.

“It has been a very interesting first year with everything thrown at us, but we never stopped,” she said.

“We’re an essential service, so we didn’t close a single day, and people were so supportive of us. We want people to know that we’re always here for our customers.

“It’s a beautiful building, so I’d encourage everyone to come in and say hi and visit.”