Skip to main content
Stay updated

Bright Futures Challenge projects


VicHealth’s Bright Futures for Young Victorians Challenge provides support for projects which promote community and young people's (12–25 years old) resilience, social connection and mental wellbeing.


Bright Futures Challenge Phase 3: Integration

VicHealth established phase 3 of the Bright Futures Challenge with a focus on replicating and embedding the most promising projects for young people. VicHealth selected the four projects from Phase 1 and 2 that showed the most promising impacts on young people's mental wellbeing and also showed strong potential to be expanded and replicated in other local government areas.

VicHealth worked with 10 local councils to enable the project replication. VicHealth also worked with Portable to enable the partnerships across councils and to support capacity-building and knowledge exchange. Find out more about the partnership development here.

The four selected Bright Futures projects were:


BandMates Victoria - Maribyrnong Council

BandMates Victoria matches ‘Bandmates’ (that is, people with disability and/or mental health conditions) and ‘Volunteers’ (trained community members) with each other to see live music at venues and festivals across Victoria. The program is a breakthrough for people with disability and/or mental health conditions, as they may not otherwise be able to attend live music performances. The program has attracted keen interest across Melbourne and further afield and is now run independently. For more information go to

As part of the Bright Futures Challenge, the City of Greater Bendigo sought to adapt the program into a rural area in the context of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions and the impacts on young people’s movement and their mental wellbeing. Some aspects of BandMates were integrated into council youth programs during 2020. For more information about those programs go to


Young Women’s Leadership Program - Monash Council

The Young Women’s Leadership Program (YWLP) provides a structured approach to increase young women’s skills, confidence and leadership opportunities in a peer learning environment. The Program engages young women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Young women reported increases in their confidence to apply for opportunities such as successful applications for scholarships to study university abroad, becoming community leaders/ambassadors and multiple educational and career opportunities.

See the YWLP Handbook here (PDF) 


We Know Your Name But Not Your Story - Corangamite Shire

We Know Your Name But Not Your Story (WKYNBNYS) engages and equips young people to develop digital and media stories about connecting with their community. Knowing, appreciating and understanding someone else’s story has helped build empathy and a much more inclusive community. It has supported stronger community connectivity and increased the likelihood of making meaningful social connections.

See the WKYNBNYS Handbook here (PDF) 


Safe and Supported - Cardinia Shire

The Safe and Supported Program aims to build the resilience and social connections of young LGBTI people and raise awareness in organisations in order to reduce the abuse, discrimination, bullying and isolation experienced by LGBTI young people. The program seeks to ensure young people will feel safe and supported at home, school and within the wider community by delivering a range of initiatives and engaging young people to guide them.


See the Safe and Supported Handbook here (PDF)


During 2019-2020, VicHealth will work with local councils and other project partners to support replication of these projects in new local government areas, and will also support sustainability of the projects within the councils that originally developed them. The councils involved are:


Funded Councils

Funded projects

Casey City Council

Young Women’s Leadership Program (supported by Monash City Council)

Glenelg Shire Council

Safe and Supported (supported by Cardinia Shire Council)

Greater Bendigo City Council

Bandmates Victoria (supported by Maribyrnong City Council)

Indigo Shire Council

We Know Your Name But Not Your Story (supported by Corangamite Shire Council)

Maroondah City Council

We Know Your Name But Not Your Story (supported by Corangamite Shire Council)

Whittlesea City Council

Young Women’s Leadership Program (supported by Monash City Council) and Safe and Supported (supported by Cardinia Shire Council)

The Youth-Friendly Employer Project (YFEP)

The YFEP provides tools for workplaces to earn a ‘Youth Friendly Certification’. This can include businesses, non profits, institutions and local governments. As part of the Bright Futures Challenge, the YFEP project originated with Moonee Valley Council and the Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley LLEN (MMVLLEN) working in partnership in 2017, and during 2019 the MMVLLEN delivered further testing and development of the tools. 

If your workplace would like to become more youth-friendly, contact MMVLLEN or check out the Youth Friendly Employers webpage.


Bright Futures Challenge Phases 1 & 2

The Bright Futures Challenge aims to build resilience in young people and grow social connection within their communities. The projects supported through the Challenge have trialled preventative strategies to equip young people to better cope with challenges they may face now and into the future.

We know that this age range is a critical period for individual development, one that is characterised by important transitions through education, work, family and relationships. During this time, young people are developing physically, intellectually and emotionally, while forming autonomous identities, building independent social networks and initiating intimate relationships.

In 2016 VicHealth launched the Bright Futures Challenge, inviting Victorian local councils to develop responses to the megatrends identified above and solutions to promote young people's resilience, social connection and mental wellbeing.

The first round of the Bright Futures Challenge enabled 12 local councils to work directly with young people through co design and create new programs and initiatives in the local area.

The second round of the Bright Futures Challenge provided Horizon funding for several of those local councils to further expand their program activity. It also provided Seed funding for several new local councils to join the Challenge by creating new programs and initiatives.

In total the Bright Futures Challenge has supported 16 local councils to create new programs for young people and resilience, as listed in the table below. To date, the Bright Futures Challenge is estimated to have reached over 60,000 Victorians and has reached some of the most vulnerable groups on the Victorian community. The projects have enabled young people to develop new personal and professional skills and have forged connections between members of several communities. Many projects have also developed new community resources or have harnessed the existing knowledge and networks within their communities to provide new opportunities for young people to connect.

 Victorian local council  Project name
 Banyule City Council  The Mali Project – Youth Voices Being Heard
 Brimbank City Council  Upstart and Uplift
 Cardinia Shire Council  Safe and Supported in Cardinia
 Casey City Council  Arts Agitators
 Corangamite Shire Council  We Know Your Name But Not Your Story
 Darebin City Council  First Step
 Gannawarra Shire Council  Wired into the Warra – A Virtual Youth Space
 Golden Plains Shire Council  GPS Adventures
 Greater Dandenong City Council  Kitchen Challenge
 Hindmarsh Shire Council  Understanding Reality
 Latrobe City Council  Green Valley Garden
 Manningham City Council  Skills 4 the Future: Opening the Doors for Young People into Work
 Maribyrnong City Council  Bandmates
 Maroondah City Council  Youth Uploaded
 Melbourne City Council  My Journey
 Monash City Council  Young Women’s Leadership Program

Further detail about the projects supported during 2017-18 (phase 2) is included below.


Seed grants

The Mali project - Banyule City Council

Through this project young Somalian Australians will create social media campaigns focusing on positive health based behaviours i.e. eating right, coping with exam stress, culturally sensitive drug, alcohol and sexual health information. Working with industry specialists and high quality technical facilities participants will develop engaging content, act as role models within their community, while also gaining access to other programs or holistic individual support.


Arts Agitators - Casey City Council

Although it has one of the largest populations of young people in Australia may face significant barriers to participation in arts and cultural activities, and their health and wellbeing benefits. The recent opening of new arts facilities in Casey creates an opportunity to co-design new programs and activities with local young people which will benefit their peers and the broader community.


Kitchen Challenge - City of Greater Dandenong

By building the capability and capacity of vulnerable young people Kitchen Challenge aims to change their behaviours and attitudes, while broadening the choices available to them. Engaging participants in an immersive program based in a commercial cooking environment will provide opportunities to learn about nutrition, gain new life skills, while also being linked to access points for meaningful ongoing employment.


First Step - Darebin City Council

Darebin Youth Services (DYS), in partnership with Northland Shopping Centre Management, will co-design an education to employment to program that can transition young people into entry level retail positions, and build the capacity of local businesses to support young people. The training sessions will be held at Darebin City Council’s brand new Northland Youth Access Hub, located within the shopping centre.


GPS Adventures - Golden Plains Shire Council

Delivered in one of the fastest growing rural municipalities this exciting pilot project connects young people with community, adventure, and lifelong learning opportunities. Council will work in partnership with YMCA Geelong and the Shire’s young people to deliver a series of one day theme-based adventure trips and two resilience camps capitalising on the value in experiential learning and mentorship.


Skills 4 the Future (S4F) - Manningham City Council

This new collaborative initiative will enhance young people's resilience, employability, and career options building their skills and experience. The project will be informed by the Youth Summit to be held in March and co-designed with youth leaders, building their capacity in project planning, implementation and evaluation.  An integrated suite of options will build the capacity of participants to be more competitive in today’s labour market.


Youth Uploaded - Maroondah City Council

Youth Uploaded will develop empowering, engaging and relatable local digital and online content, piloting new approaches youth work. A diverse cohort of young people will be integral to the co-creation process with further training and mentorship offered thereby providing employability skills including digital production, project management, team work, and personal effectiveness.


Young Women's Leadership Program - City of Monash

The YWLP will be delivered as a community based training program to strengthening the leadership skills of participants while raising awareness of gender inequality and respectful relationships. Different models of learning will be included with participants also being provided access to volunteering and other community activities. Fifty percent of enrolments will be targeted toward migrant and refugee young women.



Horizon grants

Safe and Supported in Cardinia - Cardinia Shire Council

In its first iteration Safe and Supported in Cardinia delivered a range of initiatives to  LGBTIQ+ young people, their families, professionals, education providers and the wider community. During the next phase of the project Cardinia Youth Services will to expand its support to LGBTIQ+ young people while also using learnings from the earlier project to increase the acceptance and inclusion of young people with a disability. 


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. Continuing VicHealth’s support for this program into a second phase will enable further development of the story collecting and media making elements as they are further embedded within the Building Resilience in Corangamite Kids (BRICKs) schools program and made available to all local year 9 students.


Bandmates Victoria - Maribyrnong City Council

The pilot phase of Bandmates Victoria saw the development of a contemporary mentorship program that could assist people with a disability to achieve community and cultural participation while also working with the live music industry to deliver accessible and inclusive experiences. Driven by popular demand Bandmates will now be expanded to outer Melbourne and regional areas with an  online platform introduced that can further champion good practice and increase social networks.


Dad Space - Wyndham City Council

The Dad Space program welcomes 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. The year one pilot demonstrated the need for an ongoing program with expansion in the second operational year to incorporate a more significant online component and an increased range of community-based activities and excursions.


  • 2016 Bright Futures funding recipients

    Twelve new projects connecting councils, community and young people will receive funding through VicHealth’s Bright Futures for Young Victorians Challenge.

    The Bright Futures Challenge aims to build resilience in young people and grow social connection within their communities. The projects supported through the Challenge will trial preventative strategies to equip young people to better cope with challenges they may face.

    Funding for the Bright Futures Challenge is for a one-year period from October 2016. Projects that demonstrate the greatest potential during the pilot phase may be offered further funding.

    Successful recipients of the VicHealth Bright Futures grants are listed below.

    Upstart and Uplift - Brimbank City Council 

    Brimbank Youth Services and CCollective will provide a safe learning environment for young people aged 18 to 25 years interested in developing the practical and interpersonal skills required to become entrepreneurs. The collaboration will develop a business idea that will result in cultural, community, social, and economic outcomes.

    Safe and Supported in Cardinia - Cardinia Shire Council

    Through the implementation a range of initiatives with young people, parents and local community groups Cardinia Youth Service will build resilience, social and community connections for Same Sex Attracted, Sex and Gender Diverse (SSASGD) young people. 

    We know your name, but not your story... - Corangamite Shire Council

    Council will work in partnership with Humankind Enterprises to build community connections by training young people to become media makers. A pop-up media booth will be used across Corangamite to collect interviews, photos and videos. These stories will be used to inspire the community to welcome diversity, and to connect in real and meaningful ways.

    Wired into the Warra - Gannawarra Shire Council

    Gannawarra Shire is made up of multiple small towns with limited transport options between them. Development of a virtual youth space will provide a platform to increase the social connection and accessibility that is vital to addressing isolation and socioeconomic disadvantage experienced by local young people.

    Understanding Reality - Hindmarsh Shire Council

    This project will allow young people aged 12 to 18 years to be in control of deciding how they would like to be informed of current issues and trends relating to their own wellbeing. Forums and events will be used to encourage social connection and opportunities for young people to talk about problems before they become too great.

    Green Valley Garden - Latrobe City Council

    A partnership will be established across three secondary schools and Latrobe City's wider youth support services to create edible pop up gardens in underutilised public spaces in Morwell. Students will learn about healthy eating, develop skills with hand and power tools and become more knowledgeable about agricultural process.

    Bandmates - Maribyrnong City Council

    Bandmates delivers a one on one support model that connects young people through engagement with live music. The pilot program is a partnership between four LGA's, Arts Access Victoria and Music Victoria, with a plan to expand across Melbourne and regional Victoria to include more socially isolated young people.


    Voice Your Voice - City of Melbourne

    The City of Melbourne, in partnership with The Huddle, Our Say and Scanlon Foundation, will develop an online jury and pod cast series to empower youth to express their aspirations and collaborate with other young people in identifying, owning and delivering solutions to the problems they face.

    Youth-Friendly Employer Certification Program - Moonee Valley City Council

    This project aims to establish a more positive, supportive experience for young people who are job-seeking and working by growing employers' awareness of the impact of their behaviour and workplace on the confidence and wellbeing of young people seeking work or in the workforce.

    The Moreland Youth Movement Project - Moreland City Council

    Twenty four Year 12 students will work in teams to identify a real world issue affecting young people within their local community and develop solutions. Valuable peer-to-peer feedback will help strengthen the ideas before they are presented to Council’s Youth Advisory Committee for potential endorsement. 

    Dad Space - Wyndham City Council

    This is a unique and exciting pilot project targeting young dads within Australia's fastest growing municipality, Wyndham. This project aims to promote resilience, community connectedness and holistic wellbeing through supportive group facilitation, online platforms and case management.

    The Art of Belonging – Yarra City Council

    Through consultation with local young people, and inspired by international experiences such as the Project for Public Spaces in New York, Yarra City Council and Artful Dodgers Studios will empower young people to shape their local community, and build a stronger sense of place by embedding arts and culture in their everyday environment.

Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
VicHealth acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land. We pay our respects to all Elders past, present and future.
This website may contain images, names and voices of deceased people.

VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.