Members of Warrnambool gay-straight alliance youth group YUMCHA will hit the dancefloor next month in a bid to top up its coffers.

The group — which has continued backing from Brophy Family and Youth Services — will lose key funding this year and will hold a party to raise money and offer GLBT young people in the area a chance to let their hair down.

Brophy YUMCHA project worker Lyn Eales told Southern Star the group had been very successful in supporting young people during their ‘coming out’ period and is going from strength to strength each week
“We have anywhere between seven and 15 people come in and we had about 60 people head down to Pride March this year, which is really great,” she said.

Eales said YUMCHA’s strength had encouraged other towns in the South West and Bellarine regions, such as Colac, to get involved in GLBT youth support projects.

“It’s amazing what happens once you get the ball rolling.”

Although YUMCHA’s funding from the Reichstein Foundation runs out midyear, the group has attracted government funding to roll out the Pride and Prejudice sexual diversity program in four local schools, including one Catholic school.

The Warrnambool Gay and Lesbian Party Network, the organiser of the fundraiser, said it hopes to raise $2000 at the party which will go towards creating branded T-shirts and a possible camping trip.

A similar party held last year raised $1700.

Party Network organiser Phoebe Adams said YUMCHA has much community support among older gays and lesbians in the area for its work with young people.

“It’s great to give them the support that we didn’t have,” she said. “Over 10 years ago the closest place was Geelong, which is still over three hours drive away.”

Adams said a new group, Friends of YUMCHA, will be set up to assist the group as it grows and make sure it survives.
In related news, YUMCHA has been nominated for an inclusion award at the upcoming Western District Employment Access Social Inclusion and Collaboration Awards.

info: The fundraiser party will be held at the Regal in Timor St, Warrnambool.

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