$175,603 for new project to support indigenous people on the Sunshine Coast
A new project designed to support indigenous people on the Sunshine Coast who are disconnected from the wider community with developing their life and employment skills has received a $175,603 grant today. The grant under the Strong and Resilient Communities program was announced by Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace at a visit to the Eastbank Edible Gardens where the project will be delivered.
Mr Wallace said “The Turnbull Government believes in building stronger communities which seek to include marginalised or disadvantaged people. Sadly, the incarceration rate for indigenous Australians in our state is 11 times higher than that for the wider Queensland population. This project will support local residents who have become disconnected from our community and help them to grow their confidence and build the skills they need to find work and make a greater contribution in the future.”
The eight week program will be delivered by Community Solutions Group and will focus on local indigenous people who have entered the legal system and are appearing before the Magistrates Court. It will include accredited life and employment skills training, as well as confidence building recreational activities like gardening, small construction projects, nutrition and arts activities, and one to one mentoring.
“By supporting some of our most marginalised people and helping to give them a sense of belonging, this project will not only help many local residents to build a better life for themselves, but it will also help us together to build a safer Sunshine Coast, and increase local employment.” he said.
The funding will allow the new project to be developed and will fund its operation until the beginning of 2020. The organisers of the program, Community Solutions Group, have partnered with specialist training provider Look Now Training, and with the Five Bridges Community Justice Group. This latter group will help Community Solutions to identify people who would benefit from the program as well as providing additional support to individuals facing alcohol related charges in the Murri Court. Community Solutions also intend to collaborate with Five Bridges in involving local elders in the development, recruitment and execution phases of the project.
Mr Wallace said “We know that the best people to help us build a safer and more inclusive community are the people who live here and are part of that community themselves. That’s why we are so pleased to be working with Community Solutions, who have been an active part of the Sunshine Coast for more than 25 years. Critically this project will be developed and executed in close collaboration with local indigenous leaders and will feature culturally appropriate activities which are most likely to engage our target participants.”
Melissa Evans, Program Co-ordinator at Community Solutions said “This is a fantastic opportunity for the indigenous community. We’re really excited to be able to offer this program. It is a great chance for young indigenous people here on the Coast to connect with their culture and build some skills that will help them to get employment and in their lives in general.”
Maroochydore Community Justice Group Elder Aunty Judith Shea said “As an elder in the community I think it is really important that we give our people a whole of life understanding. Having the funding, having this program and this area to work in with elders and other respected people will help our young people to relearn respect and community values. This will be a great place for them to be on country and to work and learn on country.”
The project will be titled Cultivating Culture – Growing a Stronger Self. Approximately 1.9% of the Sunshine Coast’s population are or Indigenous background.
83 organisations have received a total of $36.6 million in funding under the Strong and Resilient Communities grants program. More information on Strong and Resilient Communities grants is available on the DSS website.