Funding will help provide basic skills to vulnerable children

A literacy and numeracy program attached to the highly-successful Project Walwaay will be able to continue, thanks to $30,000 worth of funding secured by Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders.

Education and Training Out West (ETOW) has worked in conjunction with Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLOs) attached to Orana Mid-Western Police District to identify children with a desire to complete the program.

Previously, funding for the one-on-one training has come from philanthropic donations, however when that partnership ended the future of the service was in some doubt.

“I met with Anne Shortis from ETOW and Willie Middleton earlier this year, and it became apparent that the program was succeeding and enabling the students to gain skills that can help them find employment down the track,” Mr Saunders said.

“Having programs like this, working in conjunction with Walwaay, can help break cycles of disadvantage and it is important that we don’t let it go by the wayside because of a lack of funding.

“Willie has identified some participants that would be suitable for the program, and Anne has the educators who have already been successfully running it, so it makes sense that we could provide funding to ensure it runs for another year.”

News of the support came as a boost for Ms Shortis, who admitted she was unsure of the program’s future when the previous funding ran out.

“We were ecstatic when Dugald called to say we had secured $30,000 from the NSW Government because without education, these kids have no real shot at breaking the cycle,” she said.

“We work one-on-one with the students, Willie is involved all the way as well, and they come on in leaps and bounds. You can really see their confidence grow.

“The $30,000 will allow us to put three students through the program, and also continue to build a case to seek further ongoing funding in the future.”

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