Media releases

December 7, 2004

Medibank Private pushing Australian children towards a healthier future

Christmas is coming early this year for 50 disadvantaged children thanks to a generous contribution from Medibank Private.

The largest, national health fund donated 50 new bikes to the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal at a special presentation in Sydney's Martin Place, with some very eager and deserving children, from Barnardos Australia, on hand to experience the joy of giving and receiving, and of course the thrill of a new mountain bike!

This is the second year that Medibank Private has supported the Salvation Army's Christmas Appeal, which aims to provide over 250,000 toys to young children who might otherwise receive nothing at all this Christmas.

Barnardos Australia will distribute the bikes to families on behalf of the Salvation Army and Medibank Private. Some of the children visited Medibank's Martin Place retail store before school today, keen to get their hands on their new mode of transport. For some it is their first bike, and others the first time they will experience the thrill of riding a bike.

Each year, The Salvation Army assists more than 300,000 families who struggle to meet the financial demands of Christmas.

Donation bins are placed in all 104 Medibank Private retail centres across Australia and at its corporate offices, from 25 November to 22 December 2004, for people to donate food, toiletries, and toys.

Medibank Private General Manager NSW, Frank Levene said supporting The Salvation Army is a great way to give back to the community during a time of need.

"The excitement and appreciation shown by these kids really is contagious, and is an affirmation for Medibank of our very worthwhile partnership with the Salvation Army."

"We will continue to work with the Salvos and do as much as we can to help them spread the joy of Christmas. However we also hope that these bikes will encourage the children to keep active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle," he said.

The Salvation Army's Sydney Appeals Director, Major Neil Dickson, said: "This year, demand on our services increased by 14%. We encourage everyone to offer their support to needy families at this time of year. By supporting the Salvos' Christmas Appeal, Medibank Private staff and members have helped many children and families share the spirit of the festive season."

Medibank Private recognises that Christmas presents challenges for many families.

"If we can ease just some of the strain and challenges that many Australian families face at this time of year, and help them celebrate the joy of Christmas, we are making a positive difference in the community," Mr Levene said.

Ends´┐Ż

For further information please contact: Libby Woolnough, Media Relations Adviser, Medibank Private - PH: 03 8622 5181 / 0411 659 060


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