Through the Commonwealth Bank’s employee volunteering program, Michael and his colleagues completely transformed the Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s North Ryde Centre into a bright, fun and accessible centre. Micheal’s efforts led to him taking out the 2012 Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award category.

In February of 2012 Michael Cluff and some of his colleagues from the Commonwealth Bank visited the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) facility at Ryde to talk about what they might be able to do for the organisation as part of the Commonwealth Bank Centenary Celebrations.

What started at that meeting as rough ideas, a modest budget and a gleam in Michael’s eye rapidly grew into a huge project. Michael was able to volunteer his time to manage the overall project which saw an unusable play area be redesigned into a beautiful accessible playground and therapy space.

The playground now features an intentionally “wonky” music house, not only for the fun factor but where the kids can turn knobs and pull levers as part of their therapy and be rewarded with bells and gongs and other musical sounds. Other fun elements like a row boat, a water pump (good for building those muscles) and a specialised swing set were also installed.

“We worked with the kids and volunteers to make a huge colourful mural for this space and the kids love pointing out their tile when they visit the centre.

“CPA were amazing and gave me free reign to do some wild and whacky things that add to the overall experience”.

Michael also led the refurbishment of a parent’s room, where carers are now able to enjoy a coffee, some music or read a magazine in a pleasant and relaxing environment whilst their children attend therapy.

“I am very lucky to have an employer like the Commonwealth Bank who is very supportive of my pursuits, as they are to all staff that choose to give back to their communities in some way by volunteering.

“Volunteering gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and has confirmed to me that even the seemingly smallest of endeavours to lighten someone’s load or lift their mood, is appreciated. The rewards always significantly exceed any effort.

“The depth and breadth of what people do through their volunteering is truly inspirational”.

Michael Cluff is the 2012 Corporate Volunteer of the Year.