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Seniors and families on the Surf Coast to benefit from Community Bank social enterprise

The small Victorian town of Winchelsea is about 1.5 hours southwest of Melbourne and 30 minutes from Geelong. A shortage of appropriate housing for older people looking to downsize, is forcing some residents to move from their hometown into the nearby city of Geelong, or even further afield.  

In response to this challenge, the Community Bank Surf Coast formed a new social enterprise called ‘Winanglo’. Winanglo will drive the development of 10 independent living units and associated support services in the town.  

Integral to the project was the transfer of vacant land for $1 by the Surf Coast Shire, made possible by the confidence the Winanglo structure provided the council.

“Winanglo is an incorporated association with charitable status. This assured the Surf Coast Shire the development would remain in the ownership of community,” David Impey, CEO of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s Community Enterprise Foundation said.

David said the Community Bank Surf Coast had committed $1.5 million towards the $5 million project with the remainder of the money loaned to Winanglo. 
“The loan will be repaid as the units are sold and a profit is generated. Other Winanglo profits will also be reinvested in other local community projects on an as-needs basis.”
The project has just finalised site preparations and when complete it will accommodate at least 12 senior community members.
“An important secondary benefit is the freeing up of 10 larger homes. Winchelsea’s proximity to Geelong and Melbourne makes it a popular option for younger homebuyers. This project will provide much needed new stock to the local housing market.”
David said Winanglo was an example of a unique model that addresses a local concern in a manner that allows the community to retain economic, social, and human capital.
“Winchelsea is not unique in having a shortage of living options for seniors wanting to downsize and remain in their home community. I believe the Winanglo model could easily be replicated in other regional communities across the country.”
The Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Community Bank model has a successful track record of supporting communities to develop community-owned social enterprises, such as Winanglo. The profits from these ventures are reinvested back into social, environmental, and economic initiatives within each community.   
The model has proven to empower communities and enables them to take charge of their own financial futures by investing in what’s important to that community including community infrastructure, social cohesion, improved educational outcomes, sport, health and cultural enrichment.

In 2023 the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Community Bank model celebrated 25 years. During that time the Community Bank network has grown to over 300 branches and returned more than $320 million back to communities across the country in the form of sponsorships and grants. 

Community Bank funding often attracts co-investors such as local, state, and federal governments creating a multiplier effect on the capital generated. 

The Winanglo Model was highlighted at the National Regional Housing Summit in February 2024.

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