The Findex Community Fund’s partnership with the Country Education Foundation of Australia – Ben Blanch’s story
7 July 2020
With over 110 offices throughout Australia and New Zealand, Findex is proud to be engaged with the local community surrounding it.
Via the Findex Community Fund, connecting and giving back to local communities is at the centre of our values – empowering young people and creating equal access to opportunities in the areas of Health, Education and Entrepreneurship.
Findex is proud to have partnered with the Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) since 2018 – an organization that helps young people from rural and regional Australia access education, training and jobs through grants, scholarships, support services and resources.
Since forming the partnership, the Findex Community Fund has helped CEF to directly support almost 50 students in 44 rural and regional communities. Their stories help to highlight the genuine support that is received.
One such story is that of Ben Blanch, who grew up in Orange in the NSW Central Tablelands in a ‘pretty hectic household.’ His mother and father both work for the local Evangelical church, and he has three sisters and a brother.
Ben was introduced to CEF by his Year 12 adviser after he told her he was worried about the financial and social challenges of moving away for study.
Like many regional students, Ben had concerns about moving away from home to a place where he had no connections. Ben believes it is crucial to support rural and regional students and understands first-hand how CEF works to remove the financial barriers to education that once seemed too scary and daunting to overcome.
To high school students in the country who are considering higher education, Ben says, ‘If you think it’s a good decision, go for it.” He also reminds them that you don’t have to move to “the big smoke” – there are also many regional universities out there.
Ben says, “The grant and scholarship I received thanks to the Country Education Foundation of Orange & Districts and the Findex Community Fund were extremely helpful. They allowed me to live on campus and provided a host of opportunities to make friends, find my feet and settle into uni life.”
Ben is now living in a share house in Canberra, in his second year of study at the Australian National University (ANU). A talented and passionate musician, he originally started studying Public Relations and Music, but this year changed from Music to Development Studies, showing his passion for understanding challenges and helping others.
When he is not studying, Ben works part-time as a disability support worker. This is something he would love to keep doing, and only had the opportunity to take on the job because he took the plunge and moved to Canberra.
Despite the challenges of moving away from home and having to find his way in a new place, Ben continues to help others in so many ways, and is a true reflection of the big hearts that are raised in the country.
The Findex Community Fund partner charity program provides funding support for a selection of charities across Australia and New Zealand who deliver programs that align with the focus areas of health, education and entrepreneurship.