Life Education Queensland is expanding the delivery of its health and wellbeing education program to children in the state’s remote north west thanks to a generous funding agreement which will enable educators to reach around 4,000 primary school children with an additional 200 learning sessions.
The expanded service was made possible thanks to a grant allocation of $93,000 from Centacare North Queensland which administered funding from the Federal Government’s Communities for Children program.
Life Education began services in north west Queensland five years ago, through funding from Queensland Health, which included the construction of a new mobile learning centre for the region. Since then, thanks to the Queensland Government’s support, Life Education has been a regular visitor to Mt Isa schools. This additional funding through Communities for Children will expand Life Education’s service even further, to Cloncurry, Dajarra and Camooweal, working in partnership with 12 schools and 10 early learning centres.
Life Education CEO Michael Fawsitt said it was significant that the program would now be able to reach children in the more remote regions of the state who would benefit the most from important health prevention messages.
“This funding is vital because these communities really do need access to these services. About 30 per cent of children in the north west are indigenous. Health indicators are poorer than they are across the rest of Queensland, so it’s really important that we get this program embedded in schools where we can help teachers to give children the knowledge and skills they need to live a safe and healthy life,” Mr Fawsitt said.
“Because there is a cost associated with the program, sometimes the children who need the program the most, could be missing out. Our priority is that we want every child to have that opportunity.
“This new funding means that for the first time in this region, we will be able to fund the delivery of our sexual health and relationships program aimed at students in Years 5 – 6, as well as take our service into pre-schools, starting with children as young as three and four years of age with very important nutrition and safety education.”
Centacare North Queensland’s Tania Edwards, Director of Rural and Remote said the funding would make a big difference to children in the outlying areas of Mt Isa.
“The fact that so many children will be able to access Life Education’s programs for free is significant, because we know that young people greatly benefit from these programs giving them knowledge, resilience and crucial life skills,” Ms Edwards said.
“With their focus on friendship, hygiene, physical activity, nutrition, and personal safety – Life Education’s programs encompass all the vital health and wellbeing aspects of children’s learning, growth and development and allow young people to positively participate in the community and become healthy adults.”