Child Protection Charity Barnardos Australia Partners With Star Casino
Wednesday, 11th May 2016 at 4:04 pm
Child protection charity Barnardos Australia will team up with casino venue The Star Sydney in a million-dollar partnership that the Not for Profit said would help fund vital programs and help disadvantaged young people into the workforce.
The charity said the decision to accept money from a casino was given careful consideration at a board level but they were confident in the partnership.
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The Star entertainment centre, which boasts a world-class casino, will donate $1.5 million to Barnardos Australia over the course of a three-year partnership and will back key fundraising events and volunteer initiatives.
Barnardos Australia CEO Deirdre Cheers said they were pleased to form this relationship which would “help ensure that abused children get the services they need and deserve”.
“With over 40,000 children in child protection in Australia, and this number growing every year, this need is urgent and real,” Cheers told Pro Bono Australia News.
“This donation means we will be able to directly help many, many more children.
“The real wins for us around this relationship are around the number of staff employed by The Star. They are the largest single-site employer in the state, they have many, many food and beverage and hospitality involvements and they are involved in a lot of charity and local community events.
“We see so many young people who have dropped out of education because of their home situations, they don’t have family support and they have very few job opportunities.
“What we are really excited about, is that interface with hospitality. We know that young people who don’t face the disadvantages that our kids do, often have access to those hospitality related jobs even while they’re still at school, but for our young people, who don’t sometimes even finish school, that can be a very important step into the workforce.
“Traineeships, in what is an increasingly difficult job market, is an area that The Star is very keen to explore with us and one that we are feeling very, very confident about in terms of bringing about job opportunities for very disadvantaged young people.”
The Not for Profit said the partnership would see The Star’s 4000-plus workforce engage with the charity in a number of ways, from tradespeople donating their time and skills for building repairs at Barnardos centres, to staff and their families taking part in community events such as the Barnardos Beach Bolt, or donating Christmas presents for children who would otherwise go without through the Barnardos Gifts for Kids program.
The Star Managing Director, Greg Hawkins, said they were “exceptionally pleased” to announce the new partnership.
“We relish the opportunity to make a difference to the community and look forward to providing unique opportunities for our employees to support Barnardos,” Hawkins said.
Cheers said the partnership would follow strict guidelines.
“We give very careful consideration to decisions around any donation – and we get many donations from many sources – so we have our policies and procedures, and our board is involved, not in every donation, but in any large donations or any donations that may have particular requirements around them,” Cheers said.
“We have entered into this particular relationship with The Star and our board has been involved in those discussions, really in very strict accordance with that policy.
“That policy puts in particular conditions of retaining independence so that we can make sure we are not in a position where we can be seen to promote gambling or indeed any other activities that might impact negatively on the welfare of children directly, because that’s what we’re about, direct welfare of children.
“Barnardos is of course acutely aware of the damage gambling can inflict on families, and the child protection related concerns that can result from that, so we really are very confident that this particular funding relationship allows us to enter actively into a conversation and a dialogue about mitigating the risks posed to children, and we’re quite confident that we can have those conversations with The Star and with the people who manage The Star and indeed with the customers.”
However the issue of funding via gambling dollars continues to raise concerns in the sector.
Chair of the Community Council of Australia (CCA) Tim Costello said he thought it was an “immoral industry.”
“To beat poverty, as we’ve discovered, you are actually having to deal with the trap of gambling, and alcohol abuse and things that entrench poverty so taking money from those who are promoting gambling – and it has become so omnipresent gambling, it is completely dominating our tv screens with Sports Bet and Crown Bet – that it is very devastating; we would never do it.
“I think the sector needs to understand that the gambling industry are very ready to whitewash their social damage with our good name and they will get a PR benefit that is not good for society.
“Just about every parent I speak to says the ubiquity of gambling advertising is taking over sport, cricket, football, community – so now it is almost like they bring community to us, and we are to be grateful to them, they say yes, but look we give you cheap meals at the casino, the casino actually addicts people, destroys lives.
“I’ve done six funerals of people who have committed suicide from gambling addiction. The gaming venues knew they were in terrible trouble and kept giving them free coffees and welcoming them in until they were completely broken and then dropped them. It is a very immoral industry.”