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A peer support worker on the ground in Gunnedah is among the latest batch of successful projects announced for the region under the NSW Government’s Children and Young People Wellbeing Recovery initiative.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the projects will help support recovery and boost resilience for young people in the region following the impacts of natural disasters and COVID-19.

“It is so important that we do everything we can to support young people in our region, keeping them out of trouble and setting them up for success,” Mr Anderson said.

“With the assistance of the NSW Government’s Children and Young People Wellbeing Recovery Initiative, Youth Insearch have been able to employ Marlie, a peer support worker with lived experience who is helping young people recover, build resilience and improve wellbeing by providing them with the tools and resources they need to become the best version of themselves.”

Minister for Regional Youth Ben Franklin said the $10.3 million Children and Young People Wellbeing Recovery Initiative offers large grants between $10,000 and $50,000 and small grants for up to $10,000.

“The large grants fund projects such as community events, peer support groups, cultural connection or partnership programs, while small grants are to enable initiatives like sporting programs and barbecues,” Mr Franklin said.

“Our Regional Youth Community Coordinators will help connect young people with the projects that best support their wellbeing and recovery and foster resilience and connection.”

Youth Insearch CEO Stephen Lewin has just returned from Canberra where the not for profit organisation hosted End Youth Suicide Week.

“Our peer-to-peer model is gaining ground as a support system for the traditional government model of headspace, and this funding ensures we can continue our work in regions such as New England, offering peer support and lived experience to members of the ‘forgotten middle’, who have experienced trauma and find the medical-driven model confronting,” Mr Lewin said.

This funding has enabled Youth Insearch to employ Marlie Thomas as a lived experience peer worker to help others in her community to journey from trauma to triumph.

“When I started with Youth Insearch, I had run out of places to turn, just like many young Australians who have experienced trauma, and have attempted suicide.  I feel fortunate to be helping others through the funding and hope our work in the New England region can continue for many years to come,” Marlie said.

The Children and Young People Wellbeing Recovery Initiative is funded through the NSW COVID-19 Economic Recovery Initiative and the co-funded NSW and Australian Governments’ Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply for funding for wellbeing programs, events and resources as part of the initiative.

Applications for both large and smaller grants are open now and close on 31 December 2022, or when fully allocated.

For program and eligibility guidelines, visit

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