30/01/2020 - 11:52

Lotterywest and Healthway donate $2.1m to community programs

30/01/2020 - 11:52

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United Way WA, Barking Gecko Theatre and Co3 Australia are among the beneficiaries of $2.1 million of donations from Healthway and Lotterywest to aid companies in executing public health and wellbeing programs.

Lotterywest and Healthway donate $2.1m to community programs
Barking Gecko Theatre will receive $270,000 over the next three years from Healthway. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

United Way Western Australia, Barking Gecko Theatre and Co3 Australia are among the beneficiaries of $2.1 million of donations from Healthway and Lotterywest to aid companies in executing public health and wellbeing programs.

Healthway, which was established in 1991, focuses on public health matters such as combatting preventable disease, while Lotterywest, established in 1932, directs profits from the state lottery towards community projects.

The management of the two entities were merged in 2018 by the state government in order to align their respective strategies.

Both organisations continue to operate as their own entities.

As part of its latest round of grants, Lotterywest granted $500,000 to United Way Western Australia to aid in its support of homeless people seeking services for mental and physical health issues.

That funding, which will go towards the organisation’s two-year program for re-engaging homeless people in the community, will aid the organisation in connecting at-risk persons with clubs, sports, recreation, arts and other community-based activities.

Ruah Community Services and UnitingCare West will assist in that program's launch, while United Way Western Australia will hire more than 100 volunteers to support its participants.

United Way Western Australia chief executive Kath Snell said the organisation was thrilled to have received support from Lotterywest, saying it would help those in the state experiencing disadvantage as a result of homelessness.

“We are absolutely delighted to have gained Lotterywest funding to run this proven project which will enable United Way WA to support  some of the most vulnerable people within our community,” Ms Snell said.

“Re-Engaging in Community will ultimately empower 120 disadvantaged West Australians over the next two years to combat loneliness with the assistance of volunteer mentors who will help them to create healthier, supportive connections and more engaged, purposeful lives.

“Evidence from other programs oversees indicates that this program will dramatically change lives, and it is only possible as a result of funding from Lotterywest so we are enormously grateful.”

Meanwhile, Healthway will provide $1.6 million in its latest round of health grants to 15 arts organisations, with the intention of promoting mental health and wellbeing through arts programs.

Among the organisations to receive funding will include Barking Gecko Theatre Company, which will receive $270,000 over the next three years, Co3 Australia, which will receive $240,000, and Southern Edge Arts, which will receive $225,000.

Health and Mental Health Minister Roger Cook said community-based arts programs played a significant role in engaging vulnerable communities, and the state government was committed to supporting arts companies delivering these programs.

“The programs help people feel valued, develop a sense of identity and belonging, and keep people connected to their community,” Mr Cook said.

“We can also help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues, and empower people to make positive changes towards their mental health.”

Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said the support provided for these programs reflected the critical role of the arts in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the state’s communities.

“The health benefits from engagement in the arts is well researched and documented, contributing to positive health and wellbeing outcomes for individuals and communities,” Mr Templeman said

“The arts provide a valuable opportunity for regional young people and young people from diverse backgrounds with a pathway to engage with others in the community in a way that reflects their hopes and aspirations.

“The arts also play a critical role in the social and economic lives of regional communities, and these programs will support the employment of professional artists working in these community settings.”

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