Mansfield Courier

Shady grants to stifle the sunburn

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THE State Government has announced the sixth round of the School Shade Grants Program and the Community Shade Grants Program.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes is encouragin­g schools, community organisati­ons and sporting clubs in the North East to apply for the grants and support locals to keep active and enjoy the outdoors, while also helping them to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer.

“We know how much Victorians love the outdoors,” said Ms Symes.

“These grants ensure locals can still enjoy our great parks, sports fields and playground­s while staying SunSmart.

“Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer in Australia.

“That’s why this program is so important to our North East communitie­s.”

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with two in three people diagnosed by the age of 70.

In 2019, melanoma was the fifth most common cancer in Victoria with 2841 new cases diagnosed and sadly 270 deaths.

The programs offer Victorians better access to the shade they need to stay safe when enjoying the outdoors by building new shade, repairing existing shade or planting trees.

Grants are also available to purchase sun protective items including hats and sunscreen.

When used alongside other sun protection measures such as sunscreen and clothing, shade structures can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent.

Ms Symes said the grants were particular­ly important for schools and community areas which children use.

“More than ever, we want our kids to embrace the outdoors and stay active,” she said.

“These grants will help keep our kids safe in the sun and protect them from skin cancer later in life.”

School Shade Grants Program applicatio­ns close on August 27 and Community Shade Grants Program applicatio­ns close on September 10.

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