Tamworth’s generosity defended

By Alena Nickell

LOCAL charity leaders have slammed a study which shows Tamworth is less generous than other communities.

The figures from the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at the Queensland University of Technology claim Tamworth taxpayers sit below the national average when it comes to digging deep and are less inclined to open up their purse strings than their Armidale neighbours.

But Sue-Ellen Hogan, community engagement manager for The Cancer Council’s Relay For Life, defended Tamworth’s honour, saying the magnanimous spirit was well and truly alive.

“We find the Tamworth community is extremely generous, and not just to us but other charities as well,” Ms Hogan said.

“We raised more than $107,000 last year (during Relay For Life) ... which is amazing for one 24-hour event.”

In fact, the community routinely drums up more than $100,000 for the annual overnight event, which sees about 1500 to 2000 participants run or walk a designated path in celebration of cancer survivors and to remember those who have passed.

Based on statistics from the Australian Taxation Office, the study tracks the number of taxpayers using donations as a tax deduction, however it fails to give a complete indication of a community’s charitable efforts, recording only cash and property donations and excluding raffle tickets, charitable auctions or volunteering.

Ms Hogan agreed the disparity could simply be a case of Tamworth taxpayers forgoing their charity deductions when lodging their returns.

“It may not be that important,” she said. 

“They might just want to give money and they are not really

too concerned about getting 

(their deductions) back.”

Chris Watson, Tamworth Ronald McDonald House manager, was another who wholeheartedly disagreed with the study’s results, pointing to the highly successful Santa Crawl in December, which raised more than $11,000 for children’s charities as proof of the Country Music Capital’s big-heart.

“I definitely think in terms of charity dollars Tamworthians are very generous in every day giving,” Mr Watson said.

“You just have to look at the Patrick Coombes family in Manilla – everyone has rallied behind them.”

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