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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Almost $1.7 million for chronic disease support and social connectedness in the ACT

Cancer rehabilitation, spinal injury support, theatre and gardening are among activities the ACT Government is funding to build social connectedness and reduce the impact of chronic illness.

Fifteen local community groups and organisations will share in $1.68 million over the next three years through the Healthy Canberra Grants program, which aims to minimise the risk of Canberrans developing chronic illnesses.

“The recipients of the Healthy Canberra Grants have created programs that will empower Canberrans with the knowledge, skills, and attitude to live well,” Rachel Stephen-Smith, Minister for Health, said.

Almost half of all adults in the ACT have at least one long-term health condition such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, mental illness, asthma or cancer.

“By funding programs that bring people together to feel valued and supported, we can reduce the impact of these diseases and improve health outcomes for our community,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

Grant recipients include:

  • Landcare ACT will receive $224,390 for therapeutic nature-based activities.
  • Mental Illness Education ACT will receive $204,897 for a co-designed and peer-led education program in vulnerable communities.
  • Companion House will receive $179,517 to reduce the effect of chronic illnesses amongst refugees and asylum seekers.
  • The Australian National University will receive $175,446 for its kitchen garden program, and $139,845 to help adults with chronic illnesses build a positive body image.
  • SHOUT will receive $145,889 for its garden program for people with chronic health conditions.
  • Cancer Council ACT will receive $125,176 to help people over 18 recover from treatment, facilitated by an exercise physiologist/physiotherapist, a dietitian, and a yoga instructor.
  • Rebus Theatre will receive $110,047 for people with lived experience of mental ill-health to co-design, rehearse and perform two new theatre works.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries Australia will receive $96,337 to create a peer and family support program.
  • The Prostrate Cancer Foundation of Australia will receive $84,880 for a phone-based peer support program.
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s Australia will receive $83,688 for a support program for carers of people with frontotemporal dementia.
  • Macquarie Primary School will receive $72,644 to build stronger social connectedness amongst families and staff attached to the school, and to help students with mental health conditions manage their condition.
  • The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Canberra will receive $15,100 for a community program raising awareness of risk factors for chronic disease.
  • Wanniassa School will receive $14,400 to help students in the Learning Support Unit learn how to cook and to understand healthy lifestyles.
  • Ngunnawal Primary School will receive $7,000 for a lunchbox program for parents and carers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

These grants support the goal of the Healthy Canberra: ACT Preventive Health Plan 2020–2025, which seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of all Canberrans through every stage of life.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the challenges of the past year have highlighted the importance of social connectedness to our overall health and wellbeing. “People who lack social connections often experience an increased risk of poor physical and psychological health. Connecting with the right programs and supports gives people the opportunity to improve their mental health.”

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