VicHealth has announced that LGBTQI youth advocacy group Minus18 is the recipient of a $40,000 grant as part of its Reimagining Health grants initiative.

The charity said that the money will go towards the delivery of free digital and in-person events to over 4000 LGBTQI young people across Victoria. With the funding Minus18 will provide creative classes, at home workouts, dance tutorials, digital parties and guided mindfulness workshops.

“Two months into lockdown we saw that our young people were feeling detached from community and wanted the opportunity to connect, feel safe, comfortable, celebrated and affirmed.” Adrian Murdoch, Partnerships & Campaigns Coordinator for Minus18 told Star Observer.  

For our young people, we know that removing one of the biggest barriers to participation for events and programs is to ensure they are free and accessible for LGBTQI young people. Particularly for those from unsupported home environments or lower socioeconomic status background, so that they too can access these spaces and reduce any isolation that they are feeling.

The VicHealth Reimagining Health funding allows us to begin programming in 2021 and ensures that our events across the year will be free. We estimate this will impact about 4000 young people across Victoria and is just a really amazing result.”

Minus18 was one of over 460 local Victorian organisations to share in over $3.9 million in funding aimed at addressing the many and varied impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the year that was 2020, the programs run by Minus18 are perhaps now more important than ever, as many in our community have felt the impacts of social isolation and lockdown, more acutely than other Victorian communities.

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 Discussing how the newly funded projects would help empower communities to build new connections and strengthen those already existing bonds, Dr Sandro Demaio, VicHealth CEO said, “In 2021, local organisations will be key to ensuring Victorians of all ages and backgrounds can reconnect with others, get active and access affordable, healthy food.

“Our Reimagining Health grants will help a wide range of community groups, including sports clubs, arts organisations and youth groups, bring to life innovative locally-led and owned projects which support the health and wellbeing of those hardest hit by the pandemic.”

To this point, Murdoch stressed that while the funding announcement is both welcome and necessary, there are many more organisations that work within and represent Victorian LGBTQI communities, and that Minus18 are keen to see those groups supported in the same way.

Minus18 only represents one organisation among the LGBTQI communities. For us at Minus18 we work alongside so many incredible organisations that work across a broad demographic of young people, we need to see that other organisations are supported, which will make sure young people all across Victoria will be supported.

Still, it’s really exciting to see Vic Health launched this grant program to help organisations which don’t perhaps have a traditional approach to health and wellbeing. They’ve taken a really proactive approach to create support for programs that build meaningful connection for those experiencing things like social isolation. It’s a really great step forward.”

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