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Funding boost for Diversity Project

UnitingCare Cutting Edge project gets $215,000 to provide services for Shepparton's same-sex-attracted, intersex/gender-diverse community.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK June 21, 2014 3:44am

Shepparton’s Diversity Project will be able to continue its work for the next financial year after receiving $215000 funding.

The project is delivered by UnitingCare Cutting Edge and works with the community to provide services for the same-sex-attracted, intersex/gender-diverse (SSAIGD) community in the City of Greater Shepparton.

It aims to provide a safe and respectful environment and improve the health and wellbeing for members of the same-sex-attracted community aged between 10 and 25 years.

Diversity Project community development worker Damien Stevens said the funding would allow UnitingCare Cutting Edge to continue doing valuable and necessary work in the community.

‘‘The funding will allow the facilitation of a fortnightly social support group for same-sex-attracted, transsexual, intersex and gender-diverse young people,’’ Mr Stevens said.

‘‘The group provides a place for these young people to ... learn life skills, learn about healthy relationships, socialise and feel good about who they are.’’

Mr Stevens said the funding would also go towards providing one-on-one support for young people struggling with mental health issues, and inclusive sexuality education in schools.

He said existing community groups such as GV Pride and Shepparton’s Out in the Open festival would also continue to be supported due to the renewed funding.

‘‘We have a big focus on creating a more inclusive, safer Greater Shepparton,’’ Mr Stevens said.

‘‘We want to provide better support and celebrate gender and sexual diversity.’’

State Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell, who announced the funding this week, said the Diversity Project provided much-needed assistance in the Shepparton area.

‘‘It has provided individual support and counselling to over 275 young people and partnered with over 30 service providers in the district,’’ Mrs Powell said.

‘‘Group members have also been involved in increasing community awareness of the impacts of bullying and discrimination on the health and wellbeing of SSAIGD young people.’’

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