Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Successful mentor program to continue with more funding

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson today announced the continuation of $390 000 over four years in Howard Government funding for the Rural Co-Pilots project, which targets rural youth between 15 – 17 years.

Senator Patterson made the announcement concerning funding for the successful Mentor Marketplace program project during a meeting with the Northern Tasmania Regional Development Board Ltd.

“The young people targeted by the program are at risk of disconnection and are identified by professionals from a range of local organisations such as high schools, churches, police, state and local government.

“In its 12 months of operation, the project, covering three of the eight municipalities in Northern Tasmania, has attracted mentor/mentee numbers in excess of expectations, with 28 mentor-mentee relationships at present.

“Coordinators of this project have been an integral part of the local community in making the project a success, by developing relationships with a wide range of people who are willing to support these young at risk Tasmanians.

“This extra funding will be used to address local issues and to broaden the intake of rural youth to include younger people, down to 12 years of age.

“Mentor Marketplace was first announced in the 2001–02 Budget as part of the Australian Government response to the Prime Minister’s Youth Pathways Action Plan Taskforce Report Footprints to the Future.

“Rural Co-Pilots is one of 12 successful current Mentor Marketplace service providers to receive extended funding.

“All Mentor Marketplace projects provide mentoring services to some of the most disadvantaged young people in Australia, drawing on volunteers from local business and community.

“Mentoring services Australia wide have helped over 5 000 young people to date and are a great way for our youth to connect to their local community through the relationship building with volunteers from local business and society,” Senator Patterson said.