Community Aid Through The Power Of Poetry

26 June 2023

Since 2011, Verse For Vinnies has raised an incredible $148,742 for St. Vincent de Paul, helping locals who are doing it tough. Organised by husband and wife team Noel and Ann Stallard, Verse For Vinnies is a series of Australian bush poetry concerts that continues to draw crowds today.

Community Bank Samford has supported Verse For Vinnies’ concerts since 2013, providing almost $11,000 to the group. These grants reduce event costs so that more of the funds raised can be donated straight to those in our community who need it most.

“If we did not have the grant we would be paying the professional poet $400 from the ticket sales and the raffle funds, whereas now Community Bank Samford’s grant means that only $200 comes out of these funds; thus giving more assistance to the needy,” Noel said.

Bush poetry involves telling stories about people, events, places, flora, fauna and lifestyle experienced as Australians, with modern poems as much about city-life as they are of the bush. The dramatic presentation of these poems at Verse For Vinnies concerts has been a crowd-pleaser for over a decade.

“The fact that we regularly get 150 patrons (and on occasions 300) attending our concerts is indicative of the popularity of these six annual concerts,” Noel said.

“Professional poets who entertain at our concerts have the techniques with voice, gesture and body language to immerse their audiences in a realm of imagination and hold them there till the conclusion of what they are presenting.”

Noel and Ann donate their time to these concerts which have the added benefit of employing professional poets and providing Sunday afternoon entertainment and connection among local communities. As one patron said to Noel, “I really enjoy the poetry and the opportunity at afternoon tea to socialise with people because when you are a widow, Sunday afternoons can be very lonely.”

Noel’s background as a teacher for 35 years included high school theatre. This, combined with Ann’s vast experience as a volunteer assisting local families in times of emergency, compelled the inspirational couple to bring Verse For Vinnies to life. 

Community Bank Samford is proud to be part of the Verse For Vinnies journey , which supports those in need, as well as promoting an artform that captures the authenticity of life with a distinct local flavour.

An Akubra hat on a rock, with two notebooks leaning on the brim. There is a gorgeous view over rural valleys, with a large gum tree to the left of the picture. An orange sunset is to the right of the picture

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