A little money for big benefit

HUME community groups will continue the fight against poverty and joblessness with 10 projects to share in $523,586 of funding.

Until 2015, the federal government’s local solutions fund will spread $25 million across 10 locations around Australia to help increase social and economic participation.

Hume and Greater Shepparton were the only two Victorian areas to receive funding.

As one recipient, the Hume Whittlesea Local Learning and Employment Network will get $66,350.

It will use some of the money to operate a driver education program called Ignition, and some will finance an education summit.

The Salvation Army, Holy Child Primary School, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre were other Hume groups to be given funding under the program.

The Hume Whittlesea network partnership broker Nicky Leitch said the projects would not have been possible without the funding.

She said the education summit would focus on children in years 4 to 9.

“The Hume Under 16 Report was released recently and it found more than 300 people under the age of 16 were not going to school in Hume, and a third of our 15 and 16-year-olds were going to TAFE in Hume,” she said.

“We just found that was concerning, so part of what we applied for was money to do some work with secondary schools and find out how you can engage parents and the community to keep kids in school.”

Ms Leitch said the Ignition program would be aimed not only at youth but at different cultural groups.

The program assists people to obtain a learners driving permit and part of the funding will be used to support agencies to deliver driver education programs.

Each workshop will include people of low literacy.

“If you don’t have your licence it’s difficult to get employment,” Ms Leitch said. “We’re looking for community partners who will deliver the program.”

Calwell MP Maria Vamvakinou said the funding would enable different community groups to work together.

“Service providers and people who work on the ground in Broadmeadows were picking up that, although there was funding for projects, there seemed to be a lack of co-ordination,” she said.

“So it’s almost as if a project is put together … where local groups who know the issues are able to come together.”