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The Year Ahead

Happy New Year and welcome to our first blog for 2024!

The GSF team enjoyed a short break over the festive season, and we have returned refreshed, enthusiastic and in a new office!  We are now co-located with the Committee For Greater Shepparton in an office upstairs in the Spiire building at 144 Welsford Street, Shepparton.

The start to the year has been a busy one.  Applications to our Lift Off Education Scholarship program closed just before Christmas and have since been short listed by the Lift Off independent committee.  With interviews concluding this week, we look forward to awarding scholarships to the successful applicants at a ceremony on Wednesday, February 7.  You can read more about our Lift Off Scholarships on our Scholarships page here.

This year there has been some change in our Major Projects.  GSF’s Major Projects are established to address an identified need locally.  Via these projects we connect partners, leverage their strengths, and mobilize investment to support transformational outcomes with lasting benefits for the Greater Shepparton community. 

Projects are not intended to remain as an ongoing Greater Shepparton Foundation project.  Success is measured by these projects achieving their aims and are therefore no longer required, or by partnerships being established enabling sustainable projects to be taken over by the community.  It is to that end that we are pleased to let you know that 2024 marks change in our major projects.

Whilst Lift Off Education Scholarships, Oral Language Intervention (OLI) program and Flood Recovery Campaign funds continue to be allocated to finalise flood recovery projects, we are coming to a natural conclusion with our Little Learners, Community Health Educators and African House programs.

Little Learners was a great success, assisting in removing barriers to enable children from our multicultural communities to access early education.  It provided bilingual support to reduce language, social and cultural barriers to education.  By providing culturally sensitive language support to parents and children and reducing financial barriers, Little Learners achieved its aim of improving the enrolment experience, supporting children’s development, and increasing the number of children from our multicultural community accessing early education. Little Learners will continue to be delivered by Uniting with the support and guidance of Catholic Care’s Communities for Children program.

African House was a major project facing closure due to two years of the COVID pandemic decimating their income.  GSF intervened to ensure this facility was not lost to the community by providing a grant to keep the doors open.  We are pleased to see Africa House back on its feet and operating with regular events and festivals once more.

The Community Health Educators project saw women from multiple ethnic backgrounds trained as Community Health Educators (CHEs) to address the poor health literacy in their wider communities. The CHEs offer, in their first language, health education and pathways through health services to women and families who struggle to navigate the western health system. The project was community led by Well Wise Women, and GSF assisted to fund its establishment with the support of the UpotIpotpon Foundation.

Many community organisations have recognised and acknowledge the value of the CHE program and the work of Wise Well Women in training and supporting our multicultural community. Discussions are ongoing to find long-term sustainable funding to grow and embed the program across the many organisations that use the services, skills and expertise of CHE’s.

On the horizon is the Regional Youth Journalism Program.  We are currently seeking expressions of interest from young people in the Goulburn Valley with an interest in writing, journalism and crafting stories for and about our community for this program. This Fellowship program will see successful candidates paid to learn and build skills in the Shepparton News newsroom, with the support and mentorship of Melbourne Press Club journalists to provide guidance and advice.  The Fellowship is a full time 6-month placement with interviews being held in February 2024.  Young people wishing to submit an expression of interest can email by February 5th, 2024.

GSF has some exciting major projects on the horizon this year, and we look forward to telling you all about them in future columns.  Of course, you can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn to be the first in the know about our upcoming major projects.

To read more about our current and past projects please visit the Major Projects page here.

With our community at the heart of our decision making and to ensure success and adequate resources for the year ahead the GSF staff team will undertake strategic planning in February.

So, you can see, 2024 is set to be another positive year, we are excited for the year ahead and are committed to delivering place-based solutions and collective impact for our community.

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