The Member for Melton, Don Nardella MLA is urging local organisations to apply for the second round of the Community Shade Grants Program to help provide shade in public areas around their community.
The Andrews Labor Government has provided $10 million for shade development in public places to provide some much needed shade in areas such as sports clubs, parks and playgrounds and schools.
Eligible community organisations including sports clubs, local councils and not-for-profit community groups can apply for Community Shade Grants of up to $50,000 from a pool of $1.9 million to construct a new shade, purchase a portable shade, plant some natural shade, repair an existing shade, or any combination of the four.
In addition, grants may be used to purchase hats and sunscreen, to further support community groups to be sun smart. The Community Shade Grant Program is complemented by the School Shade Grant Program, which provides grants for shade to Victorian Government schools.
Skin cancer is a largely preventable disease, however with an estimated 40,000 new cases diagnosed each year in Victoria alone, there is more to do.
Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer and in 2014 in Victoria, 279 people died of melanoma with 2,466 new cases diagnosed. In the same year, melanoma was the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Victorians. Shade as a sun protection measure alone can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent, and this is strengthened when used in combination with other sun protection strategies such as sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and protective clothing.
The Labor Government has provided $15 million over four years for skin cancer prevention initiatives, including $10 million for shade development in schools and community settings and $5 million for SunSmart public education campaigns. The recently released Victorian cancer plan 2016 -2020 aims to reduce preventable cancers, including skin cancer, with a long term target of halving the proportion of Victorians diagnosed with preventable cancers by 2040.
Applications for the second round of the Community Shade Grants Program close on 29 September 2016 with grants to be awarded in early 2017. To apply, visit http://health.vic.gov.au/community-shade-grants/
Mr Nardella said:
We all love spending time outdoors– but it is important we are protecting ourselves from the sun, especially between September to April when UV levels are high. I would encourage all eligible local community organisations to apply for funding and help more people be sun smart.
These grants will provide more shaded areas so families can enjoy their time outdoors while being protected from the sun.