The Gold Coast Suns have been announced as the first recipient of the second round of the Palaszczuk Government’s $2.5 million Dignity First Fund, with a grant of $57,500 to establish a youth well-being and leadership program.

Announcing the grant this morning at the annual Gold Coast Homeless Connect event at Metricon Stadium, Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the program will provide meals as well as health and fitness education for young people experiencing homelessness on the Coast.

“The Gold Coast Suns are an integral part of the Gold Coast community, and since their inception on the coast they’ve made it their mission to give back, working with key service providers to support young people experiencing homelessness.

“Now, with the help of Dignity First funding, the Suns are taking their support a step further.”

Mr de Brenni said the Suns would deliver the Dignity First funded program from the club’s training base at Metricon Stadium at Carrara.

“As well as meals, the Suns players, supported by the club’s community team, will host youth from the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth and other community organisations at the new elite training centre, offering them practical health and fitness education.”

Gold Coast Suns Chief Executive Officer Mark Evans welcomed the Dignity First Fund allocation, with the State Government grant to be distributed through the Suns’ targeted youth homeless program, which is led by ambassadors Touk Miller and Peter Wright.

Mr Miller, who has embraced his community role in making a difference in the space of youth homelessness, said he was humbled that a program he is involved in would benefit from the Dignity First Fund, declaring the grant would go a long way to changing the lives of many Gold Coasters in need.

“Tackling youth homelessness is one of the Gold Coast Suns’ three key community pillars, alongside respect & responsibility as well as the northern growth corridor,” Mr Miller said.

“As a football club we are committed to fighting this significant social issue, and the Dignity First Fund will allow us to up the ante as we take our efforts even further.

“On behalf of the club we thank Minister de Brenni and the Palaszczuk Government for their assistance and encouragement to grow our program.”

Mr de Brenni said the Dignity First Fund was established in 2016 to encourage innovative, non-traditional ideas to help people experiencing homelessness through the hard times.

“Homelessness is a complex issue, and any sophisticated response needs to include supports which address people’s immediate needs and help maintain their dignity,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Under the Queensland Housing Strategy, the Palaszczuk Government is investing $110 million on the Gold Coast to build 392 homes for Queenslanders who need it.

“We’ve also allocated more than $9 million to 14 specialist homelessness services on the Gold Coast in 2017-18.

“But alongside this, a lot of practical and social support can be given in the short term with some good ideas, a little money and a lot of heart.

“The Dignity First Fund has already brought some fantastic ideas to life.

“Young people transitioning out of homelessness are learning how to drive, a mobile barbershop is providing haircuts on the street, and café style dining is serving up food along with employment and training opportunities.

“I’m looking forward to announcing further Round 2 projects over the next few weeks.”

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Media Contact: Cat Milton 0410 644 113