Cardinia’s youth ‘safe and supported’

Local teenager Todd Neighbour stars as Marcus in the award-winning film, created through the shire''s Safe and Supported in Cardinia program. 174376 Picture: STILL FROM MARCUS

By Bonny Burrows

Cardinia Shire’s Safe and Supported in Cardinia program will expand to support young people with a disability.
VicHealth in late January announced an additional 12 months of funding for the program, which supports local LGBTIQ+ youth.
In the past 12 months, the program has delivered a range of initiatives including establishing support and advocacy groups, delivering events and training, developing a network of health and wellbeing professionals, and producing the LGBTIQ+ short film ‘Marcus’, which has received international acclaim.
Now, thanks to the additional cash the council has announced its youth services’ program will expand to include initiatives aimed at increasing community acceptance and the inclusion of young people with a disability.
Cardinia Shire Mayor Collin Ross said the focus of 2018 would be on establishing new social support and advocacy groups, and increasing Cardinia Youth Services’ use of social media to mobilise young people for social change.
“Council will be continuing to employ a collaborative approach by working with young people and those living with a disability, parents and carers, local schools, health providers, community and specialist organisations,” councillor Ross said.
“Together we are committed to increasing community acceptance, support and inclusion of young people with a disability and people who identify as LGBTIQ+.
“Through this program and the council’s other youth and liveability initiatives, we hope to bring about real social and cultural change that increases acceptance and inclusion in our community, and which improves the mental health and wellbeing of our young people.”
VicHealth Executive Manager of Programs Kirstan Corben said the organisation funded projects which would support young people to cope with the ups and downs of life.
“These projects are about giving young people strategies to cope with life’s challenges in a safe and supportive environment,” Ms Corben said.
“From developing skills to help in the workplace to empowering young people to be community leaders and role models, these projects will support young people to improve their resilience and connect with their community.”