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Federal grant for health education centres

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Space-age health education centres created by the Reverend Ted Noffs of the Wayside Chapel in Sydney are to receive an initial grant of $65 100 from the Federal Government to help establish the centres on a national basis.

The Minister for Health, Dr Neal Blewett, said today the grant was the first instalment of a funding arrangement which would extend over three years under the National Community Health Program.

Dr Blewett said the centres, called Life Education Centres, used space-age audio-visual effects to help children make prudent decisions when they were faced with advertising pressures to experiment with cigarettes and alcohol as well as peer pressures to experiment with

other drugs.

Education programs offered at the Wayside Chapel centre were specially developed for children from kindergarten to year six but programs for secondary students were being arranged.

"Two centres are operating successfully already - one at Kings Cross in Sydney while the other is a mobile unit at Tweed Heads", the Minister said.

Dr Blewett said the centres developed by the Reverend Noffs had been established with assistance from the Mayne Nickless Foundation, the Wayside Chapel Foundation and the N.S.W. Drug and Alcohol Authority.

"The programs used are most attractive and give children a sound understanding of how the body works and how the delicate balance of body function is changed by drugs", the Minister said.

Dr Blewett said a voluntary national committee was developing the Life Education Centre program in several areas of Queensland and N.S.W. and interest had spread to Victoria.

Because of the success of the centres at Kings Cross and Tweed Heads it was hoped to establish centres on the Gold Coast, Rockhampton and Brisbane in Queensland, at St KiIda in Melbourne and at Colyton in the western suburbs of Sydney.

The Minister said t h ^ Federal grant was expected to assist the committee to co-ordinate fully the development of the program over the three-year period. .

Canberra, 18 April 1984