A JOINT initiative which promotes inclusiveness has recently been carried out by the Lions Club of Mount Gambier, Mount Gambier and District Community Bank and a number of South East schools.
A total of 16 “buddy benches” have been installed in primary schools across the Blue Lake city and surrounding districts.
The benches, crafted by students from the Independent Learning Centre, have been placed in the playgrounds of the schools and serve as an anti-bullying reminder.
The concept was formed several years ago by a young boy and has now spread across the world.
Students who feel left out or isolated sit on the bench, with other students encouraged to take them under their wing.
The Mount Gambier Lions Club adopted the initiative and organised to place them in the region’s primary schools.
Club president Trevor Buckell said the project was implemented in schools across South Australia and local members wanted to introduce it to Mount Gambier.
“It was presented to the club and all of the members quickly got on board,” he said.
“We then went and sourced funding for the project.
“We were well supported by the Australian Lions Foundation, Mount Gambier and District Community Bank and members of the club.
“These kind of partnerships with the foundation and the bank are so important to keep funding community projects like these.”
Mulga Street Primary School student executive council representative Brad said when the buddy bench idea was brought to the school, students started brainstorming ideas for its placement.
“We had a few ideas about where we wanted it,” he said.
“But we decided to put it under the trees near the junior school playground.”
Mount Gambier and District Community Bank branch manager Tracy Koop said the bank was committed to providing funds for community projects such as the benches.
“80pc of any profit made each year goes to community projects,” she said.
“We were approached by the Lions and jumped on board with the initiative.
“We are more than happy to help in anyway with a cause like this.”