Drummond Street Services Queerspace will lead a partnership with Cafs (Child and Family Services Ballarat) and Wellways will create and run landmark safe spaces for LGBTIQ+ young people in western Victoria.
The Victorian Government has awarded the group a grant of $2.85 million to run a three-year trial which will establish two physical safe spaces for LGBTIQ+ young people located in Ballarat and Geelong, along with outreach services for young people on the Surf Coast.
The LGBTIQ+ safe spaces will offer mental health and wellbeing services tailored specifically for LGBTIQ+ young people, allowing them to access welcoming and inclusive support when they need it, close to home.
They will also give LGBTIQ+ young people in the region more opportunities to connect with peers and older role models, to increase their sense of belonging.
Further details of how the safe spaces will run will be decided through steering committees that will include LGBTIQ+ organisations, LGBTIQ+ young people, and others from across rainbow communities.
Drummond Street Services Queerspace, Cafs and Wellways have been selected to develop and deliver the safe spaces initiative through an open grants process, based on their extensive experience providing mental health and wellbeing services and for their work with LGBTIQ+ young people.
The safe spaces initiative responds to a community-led proposal that identified the need for further targeted LGBTIQ+ wellbeing support services in the region.
The program is part of the Victorian Government’s broader efforts to drive inclusion and equality for LGBTIQ+ communities through its 10-year plan, Pride in our future: Victoria’s LGBTIQ+ strategy 2022–32.