A FAMILY focus on education and sport is driving a new foundation for students across the Northern Rivers.
Aspiring students and future sport stars are turning to Stan and June Gilchrist after they recently launched the Gilchrist Foundation.
The pair were school teachers in the region for several years after moving to Goonellabah in 1984 while youngest son Adam went on to become an Australian cricket legend.
All four of the Gilchrist children were given opportunities to pursue their interests with Adam spending a season playing in England while he was in Year 12 at Kadina High School.
He eventually went on to the Australian cricket academy in Adelaide the following year before a lengthy career as a professional sport star
The foundation aims to Identify students and young sportsmen and women and assist them to further their education or skills through financial assistance together with active engagement and mentoring.
It offers University Scholarships, TAFE Apprenticeships and scholarships , Special tertiary Grants and The Gilchrist Sports Program.
It was formed after the COVID-19 lockdown last year with its initial students now well on track in their studies.
"We haven't had an official launch yet, but we're certainly up and running," Stan Gilchrist said.
"It cost about $15,000 to get going and we've been lucky with some generous donations and sponsorships.
"The type of students we're helping are the people who really need it."
Stan was the chairman of the Northern NSW Branch of the Lord's Taverners for a decade before stepping down in 2019.
It is a national organisation that now operates world-wide, aimed at giving young and disadvantaged people a chance through sport.
Lismore cricket product Sammy-Jo Johnson was one of those people who received financial support during her teenage years on the Northern Rivers.
She used the money to help get her to England before going on to play first class cricket for Queensland and New South Wales
She has represented Australia A in England and has also played for Brisbane and Sydney Thunder in the Women's Big Bash League.
It was never part of the plan for the Gilchrist family to launch the foundation.
"The foundation came about when I was fundraising with a few friends and we decided I should put the Gilchrist name behind it," Stan said.
"One thing we're doing in having an education program is making sure it's engaging where we meet and are in contact with them fairly regularly.
"We link them with the right people and make sure they don't feel like they're doing it all on their own."
The foundation is currently funding three university students, one TAFE student and one secondary school student.
"Our university students are studying Archaeology (University of New England), Psychological Science with Honours (Southern Cross University) and Indigenous Knowledge (Southern Cross University Goori Stars Project)," Stan said.
"Our TAFE student is in her final year of the Nursing Diploma and is planning to enrol in the Bachelor of Nursing degree course at SCU next year.
"Our secondary student is in Year 11 at Ballina Coast High School and is our inaugural Stage 1 Goori Stars awardee.
"We have been approached to provide a scholarship for an indigenous student at The Australian College of Physical Education, and we are also looking to provide some support for some of the Southern Cross University students who were severely affected by the Lismore floods."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.