Bankwest calls on West Australians to donate

Posted June 21, 2024
Bankwest calls on West Australians to donate

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Originally published in The West Australian by Claire Sadler

Telethon has been helping raise money for sick kids in WA for 56 years, and one organisation that has been there since the start is Bankwest and its staff.

Bankwest has been supporting Telethon since its inception in 1968 and is now celebrating signing on for another three-year sponsorship, which takes the organisation to 59 years of supporting the annual fundraiser.

Telethon volunteers Laura Bowkett and Paul Jeffery are pictured with Fat Cat beside a new Bankwest-Telethon campaign 'Give A Little, Get A Little Back'. Michael Wilson

Telethon volunteers Laura Bowkett and Paul Jeffery. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

One of the volunteers there from the beginning is Paul Jeffery, who was just 17 when he offered to help at the Bankwest headquarters for the first year of Telethon.

The bank on Barrack Street opened its doors on Saturday for people to be able to come in and make cash donations to Telethon.

“There was no trouble getting staff to support Telethon — everyone was always willing to do it. I think every year it was always the same people volunteering because we enjoyed it so much,” Mr Jeffery said.

“Telethon became so big. Even back then, the support from the TV stars that were on at the time, they all came over and gave their time.

“It was a lot of cash back then but obviously today things have changed. It is a lot easier to make a donation.”

He said he was proud Bankwest and its staff have been a part of Telethon since its first year. The way people donate may have changed but the number of Bankwest staff willing to help over the massive weekend has remained the same.

Every year the bank sponsors the tally board and staff have clocked more than 20,000 hours volunteering in the call centre to take donations.

The bank on Barrack Street opened its doors on Saturday for people to be able to come in and make cash donations to Telethon.

This year, Bankwest won the WA Excellence in Corporate Volunteering award at the WA Volunteer of the Year Awards.

Volunteer Laura Bowkett said the number of staff wanting to volunteer was so big there was a waitlist. “Since I’ve been with the bank, I’ve been volunteering almost every year in the call centre,” she said. “I missed out on one year because there was such a big waitlist to join.

“The phone does not stop ringing for three hours straight. Hearing the excitement from people getting through to donate is amazing. It is just a really fun time celebrating such a great cause.”

Ms Bowkett said she was proud to be able to do her part to help children in WA who were most in need.

“Bankwest is synonymous with Telethon,” she said. “People see you in that orange (shirt) and they automatically know that you stand to represent such a great charity and our community so it is something that makes you feel really proud.”

In celebration of the long partnership between Bankwest and Telethon, the bank has plastered QR codes on buses, billboards and train stations across the State urging people to “make the most of tax time with a donation to Telethon”, which can be claimed back as a tax deduction.

The 2024 Telethon weekend is October 19 and 20.

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