At-risk youth in the Miles District will receive more support to gain skills and find work, with Murilla Community Centre being awarded a $10,000 Grassroots Community Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.
The Centre will use the funds to revitalise the disused Miles Scout Den, to make it the hub for their new youth at risk program.
They will also be able to find a Youth Worker and start developing resources in preparation for the launch of the program later this year.
Murilla Community Centre Manager Cecily Brockhurst said the region was in need of a program of this kind.
“Youth unemployment in the area is sitting at over 50%, and youth crime is on the rise too, so we really need to do more to empower vulnerable young people in our community to have a positive outlook for their futures,” Cecily said.
“This new program will give them a central place where they can go, to get help, gain skills, build support networks and go on to secure stable work.”
Murilla Freemasons Lodge representative Ted Gibbons said the local Freemasons were strong supporters of the centre’s work, which is why they had nominated them for the grant.
“We’re all for supporting our local community, and giving the young people of Miles a hand up to realise their potential is an initiative we are proud to champion,” Ted said.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said they were pleased to work with the local Freemasons again to provide support to Murilla Community Centre to meet the needs of the community.
“We are proud supporters of the centre, having already provided almost $140,000 in grants to them over the past year, including a recent COVID-19 Emergency Grant and funding for their new bus and vehicle,” Gary said.
“We are pleased we could provide this additional support to help improve outcomes for youth at risk.
“Fifteen charities shared in almost $120,000 as part this year’s Community Grants round. We also received a greater number of applications with a large geographical spread, particularly in regional Queensland.”
He said the Freemason charity had provided more than $700,000 in emergency support and Grassroots Community Grants in the wake of COVID-19.