Leederville: YMCA shows value of youth on community and aged care boards, as Southcare get grant to increase participation

Laura Koh and Paul Miles at the Leederville YMCA. Picture: Giovanni Torre
Laura Koh and Paul Miles at the Leederville YMCA. Picture: Giovanni Torre

MORE young people will be encouraged to bring their views and skills to aged care and community boards with a funding boost announced Wednesday.

Community Services Minister Paul Miles was in Leederville to announce the $50,000 grant to Southcare to continue delivering ‘Engaging Young Leaders on Aged Care and Community Boards’.

“The Government is committed to providing young West Australians with the opportunity to be involved in decision-making bodies in their local communities,” Mr Miles said.

“Sitting on a board can be a great way for young people to share in decision-making and use their skills to benefit others. Their knowledge and fresh perspectives can make services, events or decisions more relevant, appropriate and effective.”

As part of the program, Southcare will use the grant over two years to encourage local governments and community organisations to improve the representation of young people on community boards.

“Participants in the program undergo intensive training, attending learning and development opportunities to equip them with the knowledge, experience and networks to accept their first board position or board traineeship,” said Mr Miles.

One of the program’s alumni – Laura Koh – currently sits on the Board of YMCA WA and was present at the Association’s Leederville office for the announcement.

Ms Koh began the program in 2015 and at the end of that year she applied to become a director on the board of YMCA, taking up the position in July 2016.

Now 29, Ms Koh told Guardian Express the experience has been “fantastic”.

“I really enjoy it; it’s the sort of thing you need to enjoy because it’s a lot of work. If you didn’t enjoy it, it would be a drag, but for me – it’s a pleasure,” she said.

Mr Miles said Ms Koh was one of many success stories from the program.

“This program has an established alumni and demonstrated results, with more than 60 per cent of graduates accepting a board position or traineeship. This is a fantastic result which this funding will help increase in the coming years,” he said.