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Southern Melbourne

Foster Families offered free sports and recreation opportunities

Image children on bikes
Image children on bikes

The Southern Melbourne Children and Youth Area Partnership has partnered with major sports and recreation providers Aligned Leisure and the YMCA to give children and young people in foster care free access to fantastic recreational opportunities, encouraging more positive social activity with their peers.

Aligned Leisure and YMCA in partnership with the Shire of Cardinia and City of Casey are offering Southern Melbourne foster and kinship care families a free Leisure Voucher book, which will overcome some of the barriers to participate in these activities, particularly those that are financial.

Foster and kinship care families will benefit from the initiative, with free access to family swims, tennis court hire, gymnastics, stadium access, discounted merchandises and other recreational opportunities.

The initiative directly addresses one of the goals of the Southern Melbourne Children and Youth Area Partnership, Social Connections Taskforce, which is to increase the engagement of children and young people in regular positive social activity.

The taskforce was established to reduce children and youth vulnerability at a local level, through place-based collaborative work to drive system change that directly affects vulnerable people in Southern Melbourne.

Wesley foster carer Emma Firth said the initiative was a great opportunity for young people in care.

‘This initiative provides foster carers with the ability to introduce new activities to children and young people in care that they may not have otherwise been able to take part in,’ Ms Firth said.

‘It’s great that the vouchers can be used by everyone living in the foster care home, not only providing a recreational activity but the opportunity to bond, be active and have fun together.’

Manager Community and Family Services of Cardinia Shire Pam Martin said the council was delighted to take part in the initiative.

‘Cardinia Shire Council are proud to be involved with the Area Partnership and support local initiatives that contribute to the positive outcomes of children and young people in out of home care,’ Ms Martin said.

Acting Manager Child Youth and Family, City of Casey Carol Mislicki said it was fantastic that these local families were being supported to engage in leisure activities.

‘These vouchers support both the Foster Family and child to participate in physical activity, which research tells us assists individuals with both physical and mental wellbeing. The whole family can then engage with each other and the wider community supporting social connection for all,’ Ms Mislicki said.

For more information on the facilities visit: www.cardinialeisure.com.au or www.ymca.org.au. Foster and kinship care families living in the Shire of Cardinia, can register here to be posted the free voucher book for Cardinia Life and families in the City of Casey and City of Greater Dandenong can contact their agency to obtain a booklet for use at YMCA.