Last updated: 25 Jan, 2018

12 new projects will share in $750,000 in funding to boost the social connections and resilience of young Victorians as part of health promotion foundation VicHealth’s Bright Futures Challenge.

The projects will be delivered by local councils in partnership with young people and a range of partner organisations and will trial new ways of supporting young people to better cope with challenges they may face.

Funded projects include a commercial cooking work experience program for vulnerable young people in Dandenong, a peer support group for young dads in Wyndham and a young women’s leadership course in Monash.

VicHealth Executive Manager of Programs Kirstan Corben said the new projects would support young people to cope with the ups and downs of life.

“We know that poor mental health is a big concern for many young Victorians – almost one in four young people have a mental illness,” Ms Corben said.

“These projects are about giving young people strategies to cope with life’s challenges in a safe and supportive environment.

“From developing skills to help in the workplace to empowering young people to be community leaders and role models, these projects will support young people to improve their resilience and connect with their community.”

Ms Corben said the new projects will also seek to address the upcoming trends that will impact the mental wellbeing of young Victorians over the next 20 years identified in VicHealth and CSIRO’s Bright Futures report.

“Our research shows young people will need to adapt and cope with challenges that are very different to what their parents faced,” she said.

“An increasingly competitive global job market, the continued rise of digital technology, increased automation and over-exposure to online content are emerging issues we need to tackle.

“The Bright Futures Challenge is all about local government working in collaboration with young people so they are empowered, resilient and prepared for what the future may offer.”

The Bright Futures Challenge will help towards VicHealth’s aim to see 200,000 more Victorians with a greater level of resilience and connectedness by 2023.

More information about the Bright Futures Challenge including a full list of projects is available at



Media Contact

Rachel Murphy, Senior Media Advisor on 03 9667 1319 or 0435 761 732



Project name



The Mali Project

Banyule City Council

Young Somalian Australians will work with industry leaders to create social media campaigns focusing on positive health based behaviours such as healthy eating, coping with exam stress, and culturally sensitive drug, alcohol and sexual health information.

Art Agitators

Casey City Council

Art Agitators will give young people passionate about the arts opportunities to develop and deliver art-based projects. Participants will be mentored by artists, gain exposure to the industry and have the opportunity to use the arts to express their views about social and political issues.

Kitchen Project

City of Greater Dandenong

An immersive program based in a commercial kitchen providing opportunities for vulnerable young people to learn about nutrition, gain new life skills, while also helping them develop experience to attract meaningful ongoing employment.

First Step

Darebin City Council; Northland Shopping Centre

An education to employment program to support young people to transition into entry level retail positions, and build the capacity of local businesses to support young people.

GPS Adventures

Golden Plains Shire Council

Connecting young people with community, adventure, and lifelong learning opportunities, Council will work in partnership with YMCA Geelong and local young people to deliver a series of adventure trips and resilience camps highlighting the value of experiential learning and mentorship.

Skills 4 the Future (S4F)

Manningham City Council

The project will enhance young people's resilience, employability and career options in today's job market by building their skills and experience.Participants will have access to a range of opportunities including mentoring, volunteering, and further education to make them more employable and competitive in the job market.

Youth Uploaded

Maroondah City Council

This project will work with a group of diverse young people to create empowering and relatable digital content about wellbeing, resilience, as well as links to local opportunities and services. Young people will be trained and mentored in digital production, content development, project management and team work.

Young Women's Leadership Program

City of Monash

A community-based training program to strengthen the leadership skills of young women while raising awareness of gender inequality and respectful relationships. Half of enrolments will be targeted toward migrant and refugee young women.

Safe and Supported in Cardinia

Cardinia Shire Council

This project will support young people with disability and LGBTI people in the community by establishing new social support and advocacy groups and increasing the use of social media to increase connectedness and social change.

We know your name, but not your story

Corangamite Shire Council

Knowing someone's story can decrease assumptions and judgements, and increase the likelihood of making meaningful social connections. Year nine students will collect and capture stories from people in the community, turning them into short films.

Bandmates Victoria

Maribyrnong City Council

A mentoring program that partners volunteers with young people with a disability to go out and see live music.

Dad space

Wyndham City Council

A peer support program for dads, dads to be, carers and guardians up to the age of 25 to come together, share experiences, and gain access to tailored support for their journey of parenthood.