Students across Ararat are set to benefit from a new partnership between East Grampians Health
Service and Central Grampians LLEN.

The health service has signed on as the first Community Champion for Central Grampian’s LLEN’s
MATES program which provides one-on-one mentoring to young people at 10 schools across Ararat
Rural City and the Northern Grampians Shire.

The newly launched Community Champions Model invites organisations in Ararat and Stawell to
become community leaders for the program by providing their staff with flexible work arrangements
to be able to mentor a MATES’ student during business hours.

East Grampians Health Service Training and Development Manager, Claire Sladdin said the
organisation was proud to support the initiative by nominating four staff as MATES mentors.

“MATES is an excellent initiative in our local schools, and it will be rewarding for our staff to be
engaging with, and supporting, young members of our community as mentors,” Ms Sladdin said.

After completing Central Grampians LLEN’s MATES training this month, the East Grampians Health
Service staff will soon begin visiting a student at a local school for one hour each fortnight. As
mentors, they will act as positive role models for their young people and provide them with
someone to talk to and engage with.

Central Grampians LLEN Executive Officer, Jane Moriarty said the support of East Grampians Health
Service would provide a significant boost to the MATES program.

“Over the past 12 months, demand for our MATES program has significantly increased and we
currently have a waitlist of schools requesting mentors for their students, “Ms Moriarty said.

“We are extremely grateful to East Grampians Health Service for coming on board as our first
Community Champion. This initiative is vital to the long-term growth of the MATES program, and we
are looking forward to having more organisations in Stawell and Ararat follow EGHS’ lead.

“It is a great way for employers to raise the profile of their organisation, connect with the
community and increase the job satisfaction of their staff, all while making a huge difference to the
lives of local young people.”

Organisations interested in becoming a MATES Community Champion are encouraged to contact
CGLLEN Project Officer, Penny Walton-Bourke on 0418 535 478 or email penny@cgllen.org.au for
more information

For further information please contact:
Jessie Newton on 03 5352 3266 or email media@cgllen.org.au.

PHOTO: Central Grampians LLEN Youth Project Officer, Penny Walton-Bourke welcomes East Grampians Health Service Training and Development Manager, Claire Sladdin to the MATES program.