Cultivating Prosperity with Bendigo Bank

Image source: Contributed

A local group is closer to achieving its vision of growing stronger communities thanks to a generous grant from Noosa’s Community Bank, as Penny Brand discovers.

In a world where disconnection is at an all-time high, a Noosa community group has been working tirelessly to provide an antidote.

A Pavilion, years in the making, will finally be erected in the Permaculture Noosa Community Gardens, thanks to a generous donation of $50,000 from the Cooroy Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank.

Complete with its own outdoor pizza oven, the Pavilion will host tai chi and yoga classes; live music and wood-fired pizza nights; men and women’s groups; and grow-your-own food workshops.

Permaculture Noosa vice president and pavilion project manager Sandra Guy, who has spent years as a philanthropist overseas and in Noosa, says the ethos of the project is “we are better together”.

“We need a new journey that takes us from separation to connection, from competition to co-operation, and from personal impact to collective impact,” Sandra says. “It’s a regenerative journey and we are wanting to bring people together to grow food and to reconnect.

“We want to bring people into the garden, away from the screens and to get their hands in the soil and experience the joy of growing their own food.”

The completion of the community facility would not have been possible without funding from the Community Bank, which comprises of 750 local shareholders and sees up to 80 per cent of profits go back into the community.

Sunshine Coast Community Financial Services Ltd is the franchise holder which oversees Bendigo Bank’s Tewantin-Noosa, Marcoola and Cooroy Branches.

Chair Trish Radge and deputy chair Elizabeth Reynolds were responsible for presenting the funds to Permaculture, Noosa surprising them with the money at their October club meeting.

“They almost died with joy,” Elizabeth says. “They can now complete the building and get on with their vision.”

Trish said the gardens offered more than teachings on agricultural ecosystems and sustainability.

“This Pavilion is about bringing people together,” she says. “Even though they are doing great things education-wise in empowering people to grow their own food, the space is also for community groups and individuals. So even though it is on their plot, it will be a community asset, and that appeals to us.”

The $50,000 grant was part of the Community Bank’s Hero Project which is about making a significant difference in the community and leaving a long-lasting legacy.

Trish said it had taken Permaculture Noosa years to raise money so far and the additional funding and will help them complete the job.

“The more people that bank with us, the more money we can give back to the community,” she said.

Locals can help build the walls of the pavilion which will be made out of cob, a natural building mixture made from mud, sand and sometimes clay that is added to water and other organic matter.

“The pavilion’s building designer Brett Grimley, of Ecolibrium Designs, will be running public workshops where participants can stamp the clay and the mud and enjoy conversations while building the walls,” Sandra said.

“The ethics of permaculture are earth care, people care and fair share. We care about mental health, we care that people need to feel loved and we extend kindness to all. Permaculture is a solution to what’s happening to the earth.”

The innovative hub should be open in early 2023, weather permitting.

Noosa Permaculture and Cooroy Community Gardens are at Emerald Street, Cooroy. Membership is $30 per year and includes free entry to club nights with guest speakers and monthly permaculture workshops. Non-members can pay $5 to attend events.

More information about the Pavilion, upcoming events and workshops can be found on Facebook or Instagram and at


The local Community Bank Branches of Bendigo Bank have donated to the following causes in the 2022 financial year:

Cooroy Para-Athlete Nathan Glarvey: $1000 towards entry for the 2022 Virtus Oceania Asia Games;

Coolum Wedge: $5000 for a bodysurfing competition;

Peregian Beach Surf Lifesaving Club: $7000 for furniture to help rent their upstairs space for events; Coast Guard Noosa: $5000 for a new training life raft.

If you’d like to apply for funding visit

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