Young East Gippslanders from areas hit by the Black Summer bushfires are leading recovery and preparedness efforts in their communities thanks to a $10 million, multi-council project. Project partners recently met in Lakes Entrance for a three-day community of practice.
The Future Proof: Young People, Disaster Recovery and (Re)building Communities project is led by the Youth Affairs Council Victoria and funded via a Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program, of which East Gippsland Shire Council is a key partner.
East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Mark Reeves attended the recent gathering of the Future Proof project team, including all 14 partners, at a dinner and meeting held as part of the Community of Practice.
“I’m excited that East Gippsland is part of this ambitious project, which brings together youth aged 12 to 25, two Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, three Local Learning and Employment Networks and Victoria University over two years, to drive recovery outcomes for fire-affected young people and communities,” Cr Reeves said.
“It’s incredibly important that our young people are supported and feel inspired to help in both the recovery of their towns and regions, and the building of community resilience,” he said.
The project has employed three young peer workers across Council, Moogji Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation and Gippsland East LLEN (GELLEN), with another to be employed with Council soon.
A minimum 354 young people across East Gippsland will be engaged by the project. Council and Moogji will be facilitating youth advisory groups which will engage up to 10 young people to lead disaster resilience and prevention projects. They will also help 15 young people kickstart careers in emergency management, youth work, community services, mental health, community development or mental health work.
“As principal of the Alpine School, a School for Student Leadership, I work with young people from across the state and wholeheartedly believe that our youth are the key to a brighter future,” Cr Reeves said.
“I know that our shire’s young people can contribute positively to community recovery and I look forward to seeing the amazing outcomes that the Future Proof program achieves.”
The Future Proof project will run until 31 June 2024.