HELPING MORE ARARAT RURAL CITY SCHOOL KIDS STAY SAFE IN THE SUN

More Ararat students will be protected from the sun’s damaging rays thanks to a Victorian Government funding to provide more shade in school playgrounds and outdoor areas.

Labor Member for Western Victoria, Jaala Pulford, today announced three schools in the Ararat Rural City will share in over $1.3 million of funding from the latest round of the School Shade Grants program. 

The program provides grants to build new shade structures, repair existing structures, or create natural shade by planting trees. Funding is also provided to purchase sun protective items including hats and sunscreen.

The children, teachers and families of Maroona Primary School will get $1,818 to replace the hexagonal shade sail over their sandpit. 

Moyston Primary School will get $24,386 for new permanent shade sail and Pomonal Primary School $9,501 to construct a new shade sail over the high-traffic sandpit area.

Through this initiative the Victorian Government is helping children to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer, while still embracing the outdoors and keeping fit, active and healthy. 

Childhood and adolescence are critical periods during which exposure to UV radiation is more likely to contribute to skin cancer later in life. Schools play an important role teaching effective sun smart behaviours from an early age. 

Shade alone can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent when used in combination with other sun protection strategies such as sun screen, hats, sunglasses and protective clothing. 

In 2018, melanoma was the fifth most common cancer in Victoria with 3,096 new cases diagnosed and sadly 291 deaths.

The School Shade Grant program is complemented by the Community Shade Grants program, which provides shade for community organisations. The outcome of the current round of the Community Shade Grants will be announced soon.

So far, these programs have awarded 1715 grants totalling more than $16 million in funding across Victoria. Round seven of the Shade Grants Program will open in mid-2022.

It forms part of the Government’s ambitious Victorian Cancer Plan 2020-24 which sets out a target to halve the proportion of Victorians diagnosed with preventable cancers by 2040.

Quotes for Member for Western Victoria, Jaala Pulford MP

“It’s great for kids to spend time playing outdoors and keeping active. These grants mean school children can still enjoy the outdoors while having the necessary shade to be protected from the sun.”

“Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer in Australia. It’s important we give Victorians the protection they need to stay sun smart.”

“Our grants programs have helped hundreds of schools and community groups provide the protection Victorians need to prevent cancer. Now even more children will be shielded from the sun’s harmful rays.”