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HVO community funding helps students to burn bright


Three hundred Year 5 students from the Singleton LGA will gain leadership and wellbeing skills in 2023, thanks to funding from Hunter Valley Operations’ (HVO) latest round of community grants.

Upper Hunter community-led charity Where there’s a Will (WTAW) is co-ordinating the two, one-day workshops. 

And, not for profit organisation Burn Bright is scheduled to deliver them mid-year.

WTAW executive officer Catherine Wendell said the funding from HVO was an investment in the future of the local community.

“We’ve been supporting the delivery of Burn Bright in the Upper Hunter for six years,” she explained.

“But, this is the first time it will be run in the Singleton LGA.”

More than 900 Upper Hunter pupils from Years 5, 8, 9 and 10 have been through the program to date.

“Students in Years 5 and 6 are often enthusiastic to take on leadership roles, so we want to encourage that ambition and provide them with foundational skills,” Ms Wendell said.

“We need Upper Hunter primary pupils to become strong, resilient and impactful leaders who want to make a difference.”

Ms Wendell said the interactive and fun workshops were split into three sections – leadership and teamwork concepts, practical leadership skills, and putting those skills into action.

“Topics include being a role model, putting others first, communication and listening skills, decision making, courage and resilience, taking initiative and responsibility, building trust, and goal setting,” she added.

Where there’s a Will is one of eight Hunter charities and community organisations to share in more than $51,000 in funding from this latest HVO community grants round.

Other recipients included:

  • Equipment for Star Club Milbrodale & Broke
  • Muswellbrook South Public School P&C’s Colour Your Threads for Pos Ed
  • Singleton PCYC Book Fair
  • Singleton ADRA Food Pantry
  • Cessnock Community Leo Club’s Native Wildflower Initiative
  • Rotary Club of Muswellbrook
  • Upper Hunter Where There’s a Will’s Burn Bright Program
  • Jerrys Plains Public School 2023 Jerrys Juniors and Ready4School programs

HVO general manager Tony Morris said the twice-yearly grants program was about giving local charities and community groups a hand, to deliver projects that benefitted local residents.

“The initiative has provided more than $380,000 in funding to 83 ventures since 2018,” he stated.

“This is in addition to its other charity partnerships, sponsorships and workplace giving programs.

“We have been part of the community for more than 70 years, so HVO and its staff do what we can to help make our community stronger.

“There are so many great local organisations such as Where there’s a Will, making a real difference to our community.

“They deserve our support.”

HVO operates the HVO South and HVO North coal mines at Lemington, near Jerrys Plains.

Where there’s a Will supports the delivery of programs and skills to increase community wellbeing and improve mental health in the Upper Hunter.


Burn Bright delivers student leadership and wellbeing programs and camps Australia-wide.

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