The Andrews Labor Government is working with grassroots organisations to give young people more chances to connect with their communities through the new Youth Engagement Grants.

Member for Werribee Tim Pallas today announced that Lorrok Inc, Victoria Karen Communities Network Group, and Australian Karen Preserving and Promoting History and Cultural Association Inc would be three of the 19 organisations selected to develop initiatives to empower and support young people in their communities.

Lorrok Inc’s project will deliver education and training, recreational, and sporting activities in the Maribyrnong, Melton, and Wyndham local government areas to support young people exiting from the custodial setting to engage with the community and develop education and employment pathways. The project is focused on supporting African Australians, most especially of South Sudanese background.

Victoria Karen Communities Network Group’s project will strengthen connections between Karen and other young people from Myanmar through sporting and cultural events, while also training them to become leaders. The project will work with young people in Greater Geelong, Horsham, Greater Bendigo, Hobsons Bay, Wyndham, Maroondah and Hindmarsh.

Australian Karen Preserving and Promoting History and Cultural Association Inc’s project will deliver a range of engagement activities for Karen young people in Wyndham including sports, cultural performance, education and training, and arts to improve employment, life skills and social connection.

The Youth Engagement Grants will provide $1.7 million in funding over two grant rounds, with up to $50,000 per grant for small multicultural and Aboriginal clubs and community organisations to support young people aged 8 – 24 years.

The grants help address the root causes of crime, giving communities the ability to intervene early, helping teenagers build positive lives for themselves.

Social isolation has been raised by young people through the Andrews Labor Government’s Empowering Communities program, through which local communities build crime prevention projects.

Community empowerment and partnerships are a key focus of the government’s Crime Prevention Strategy, which recognises that each community has the expertise, knowledge and ideas to design solutions that are right for them.

Investment in the Youth Engagement grants is part of a broader $30 million investment from the 2020-21 and 2021-22 State Budgets to deliver the Victorian Government’s Crime Prevention Strategy.

For more information visit www.crimeprevention.vic.gov.au/youthengagementgrants.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Crime Prevention Natalie Hutchins

“We know that disconnection and social isolation can drive young people away from their communities and towards riskier behaviour.”

“But we also know that grassroots organisations have the skills, knowledge and expertise to address the root causes of crime, which is why we’re partnering with local groups to build a safer Victoria for all.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Werribee Tim Pallas

Lorrok Inc, Victoria Karen Communities Network Group and Australian Karen Preserving and Promoting History and Cultural Association Inc do wonderful work with young people across our area. I am pleased that the Andrews Labor Government is supporting them to reach more young people and help them build brighter futures for themselves.”