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Community Partnership Mentoring Program at Hand Brake Turn.

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Minister for Family and Community Services

Media Release

Community Partnership Mentoring Program at Hand Brake Turn


The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today launched Care and Communication Concern's Hand Brake Turn Corporate Community Partnership Mentoring Program in Dandenong.

Senator Patterson said, as one of twelve organisations from around Australia selected out of the current process, Care and Communication Concern has received more than $135,000 to deliver their project under the Australian Government's Mentor Marketplace Program.

"The Mentor Marketplace program commenced in June 2003 with projects running for between one to two years. To date, fifteen projects have been established, with in excess of $3 million committed. By June 2004, twenty-seven projects will have been established, with the full program allocation of $4.4 million having been committed.

"The program is still at a relatively early stage, but already project organisations are well on the way and have started provided mentoring assistance. It is anticipated that approximately 1000 young people will be assisted during the 2003-04 year, and approximately 3000 during 2004-05.

"The Mentor Marketplace Program is an important initiative because mentors can provide young people with the developmental support and guidance they need to deal with the complexities of adult life.

"Hand Brake Turn has been operating successful programs in Geelong and Dandenong since 1994, helping unemployed young people and young people that have been involved in the juvenile justice system.

"Run in conjunction with Hand Brake Turn, the mentoring program will help participants begin the process of positive change, increase their confidence in themselves, build on their strengths and provide them with strategies to manage their weaknesses.

"Interested staff from participating businesses and corporations will receive training and assistance as mentors, providing a unique opportunity for them to see for themselves the transformation and journey that the young person experiences.

"Early research in Australia suggests that well organised mentoring programs can, for some young people, improve their self image, their relationships with their peers and family, and their academic performance.

"The Mentor Marketplace Program is also about encouraging mentoring in our communities, helping communities improve their ability to help themselves and their young people by providing the opportunity for guidance and support offered in a mentoring relationship.

"The commitment of the Australian Government is just one aspect of supporting disadvantaged and unemployed youth. These issues require a whole-of-community approach with support from the Government, the business sector and the community," Senator Patterson said.

"Labor's much-hyped mentoring policy pales in comparison to the Coalition Government's $4.4 million Mentor Marketplace program and current funding of $23 million through the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy for mentoring programs.

"Labor's policy also failed to recognise the need for mentoring programs for girls. Instead they again went for the news grab rather than delivering real policy solutions for all those in need of help and support," Senator Patterson said.