Beaudesert youth to get more TRACTION with Westpac Foundation funds

TRACTION: Beaudesert State High School students in last year's Traction program. Photo: Larraine Sathicq
TRACTION: Beaudesert State High School students in last year's Traction program. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

A Westpac Foundation $10,000 Rural Community Grant awarded in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal has been presented to youth program TRACTION.

TRACTION Founder and Program Director Sandy Murdoch said the grant was a welcome contribution towards their efforts to better support young people at risk in South East Queensland.

Mr Murdoch said in addition to the TRACTION program at Beaudesert State HIgh School this term, the $10,000 would help deliver a series of one-day Bicycle Build workshops to communities across the Scenic Rim during the Christmas school holidays.

He said many of the young people who benefited most from the program came from disadvantaged backgrounds, could be experiencing trauma or insecure housing, have a disability or have had involvement with the youth justice system.

"By holding workshops outside school times we will be able to meet young people who don't have the opportunity to join TRACTION at those schools we work with," he said.

"We welcome input from community organisations who might be able to identify vulnerable or at-risk youth who would benefit from the TRACTION program.

"Please get in touch online via traction.community/contact."

Mr Murdoch said the workshops would involve bike building as well as learning some riding skills and road safety while connecting with their peers and their community.

He said participants at Beaudesert State High School attended one day a week for an entire school term to work on various projects like restoring an old bike with the help of a mentor, as part of the Bicycle Build Program.

"We are delighted to have been awarded a Westpac Foundation Rural Community Grant. This will enable TRACTION to deliver a series of one-day Bicycle Build workshops to empower vulnerable young people in the Scenic Rim region.

"This grant will also ensure participants get to keep the bikes they build and experience the joy of riding."

Westpac Foundation chief executive Susan Bannigan said the rural grants were designed to provide assistance for those in rural areas who have faced a particularly challenging year.

"Supporting organisations focused on employment, education and training is at the heart of our strategy, and by partnering with FRRR, this has enabled us to leverage their expertise in rural, regional and remote areas and extend our reach to help these communities in need."

FRRR chief executive Natalie Egleton said rural and regional communities played a vital role in Australia's prosperity and vibrancy.

"They are facing continuing challenges to growth and development - from drought, to bushfires, to floods, and now COVID-19," she said.

"Targeted financial support for education, training and employment pathways is critical during these times, particularly for vulnerable groups.

"Through the Rural Community Grants program, FRRR and Westpac Foundation are proud to back local groups to improve the opportunities within their communities so they can continue to prosper."

Ms Bannigan said all grant recipients would also receive pro bono support and access to leadership development programs, legal support, and financial capability training via Westpac's Changemaker program.

"While access to funds is incredibly important, the collaborative support we also offer through our program partners, like access to expert skills and resources, has become integral in driving these deeper relationships with our grant recipients," she said.

"With many Australians facing job loss or reduced working hours in the wake of COVID-19, the total $2.25 million funding from Westpac Foundation aims to help these organisations sustain operations and continue facilitating employment opportunities for those who need it most."

For more information on the Westpac Foundation Community Grants program and recipients visit westpacfoundation.org.au.