School backpack giveaway supports local students, thanks to Heritage Forest Lake and Inala Lions Club

A free backpack filled with school materials will give a welcome boost to students struggling with their schoolwork in the Forest Lake area, thanks to the Lions Club of Inala and Heritage Bank Forest Lake. The offer is open to students who live and study in the Brisbane City Council’s Forest Lake Ward area.

This initiative started when local Councillor, Charles Strunk funded a small backpack project to help students in Forest Lake Ward who were struggling with their studies due to COVID-19 restrictions. His office received many nominations from local schools, community groups and families.

From there, the Inala Lions Club and Heritage Bank Forest Lake came onboard. Heritage’s joint-venture partner Forest Lake One Community Board provided a grant of almost $5000 to broaden the initiative and reach more children, while the Inala Lions Club is looking after distribution.

Forest Lake Ward Councillor, Charles Strunk said, “I could see that this project was needed in our local community after having been approached by lots of local families who spoke to me about the financial and emotional impact that COVID-19 was having on them and their children, especially with the closing of the public libraries.

“Many families and children depend on the free Library wi-fi to do their study and extra-curricular activities, meet with study groups or simply participate in many Brisbane City Council activities. It’s important to acknowledge that there are a lot of families in our local community who don’t have the funds to access internet at home.

“I welcome the collaboration between Inala Lions Club and Heritage Bank Forest Lake who will continue this initiative on a larger scale throughout the year. What started as a small idea is now being funded at a larger scale thanks to the Inala Lions Club.”

Inala Lions Club President Les Josiah and Inala Lions Member and Former President Rangi Ross have both been working with the Inala community for many years and welcome the generosity of Heritage Bank Forest Lake to support the local youth. The bags and supplies will be purchased from local shops to support local business as well.

President Les Josiah said, “Our club understands the importance of education and enriching a child’s schooling. We are known in our community for delivering projects that focus on our youth.

“On behalf of Inala Lions Club and everyone we would like to thank Heritage Bank Forest Lake and The Forest Lake One Community Board for the opportunity to service the community with the funding we have received. We can’t thank them enough for the grant approval of close to $5000.

“Many families and schools have welcomed this news and we look forward to receiving lots of nominations from residents, community groups and schools. One of the many reasons this initiative is so important to our members is that we have so many talented students in our community and we need to support them during these difficult times.”

Heritage Bank, Forest Lake Leader, Belinda Killey said, “We are delighted to be able to support this initiative and the kids that will benefit from the backpack program. The staff at Heritage and the Forest Lake One Community Board believe in the education of our children and if we can make a difference to so many kids, then we are doing our jobs.”

Stock is limited, so to find out more and check on eligibility, please contact Rangi Ross on 0407 116 679.