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Newsletter - April 2016


Latest statistics

Last month the Hume Region (which includes Greater Shepparton) was identified by the Brotherhood of St Laurence as a hot spot for youth unemployment in Victoria with our figure of 16 per cent (for the year to January) ahead of the Victorian average of 14.2 per cent.
The month before, new Australian Early Development Census figures came out showing the number of children starting school in Greater Shepparton who were developmentally vulnerable had grown  to 26.5 per cent (from 24.6 per cent in 2012). This compares to a State average of 19.9 per cent.
Our figures continue to worsen despite the best efforts of government, educators, agencies and not for profits.
At Lighthouse we believe system change is required to shift the outcomes for young people in our region.  We are using a Collective Impact framework based on the premise that individual programs and organisations are not capable of bringing about the fundamental change needed.
We are seeking bold, flexible and dynamic new ways of working and genuine collaborations across the community.
This means looking to innovators and change leaders to adopt an entrepreneurial approach and to find and refine new ways of working for fundamental change required.
Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project is taking a “backbone’’ approach - co-ordinating, connecting and leading, unearthing new resources and opportunities and putting a spotlight on outcomes for our young people as we build momentum and partnerships and drive.

Real change will occur when we can align effort, identify additional supports required, bring in extra resources, track and monitor change and together as a community celebrate our success in shifting the outcomes.

A case for change

Leading our efforts to ignite change, Executive Officer Lisa McKenzie has been meeting with many individuals and groups  including government, philanthropy, business leaders, agency and sector leaders.
She is also documenting our case for change in (including a contribution to Victorian Council Of Social Services publication “Insight’’ entitled Power and Poverty in Regional Victoria)  and presenting to many local organisation advocating for change in how we value and support our local children to achieve their potential.

Disengaged Youth Strategy 

One Hundred Conversations

Around 25 per cent of young people aged 15 to 24 in Greater Shepparton are not in work or study.
76.9 per cent of our young people are finishing year 12 compared to 84.2 per cent for the State.
And we have a plethora of “alternative education settings’’ including the Berry St School, McCauley Champagnat Programme, ACE, the Flexible Learning Centre, and ASHE.
Using a similar framework to our One Thousand Conversations, we are currently exploring the factors that lead young people to become disengaged from mainstream schooling, study and work.
Our aim is to interview up 100 young people, who are currently, or have been disengaged from work or study, pull together and document the learnings from their experiences and use the findings to drive changes that will lead to more young people staying in mainstream schooling.  
Family trauma and extensive bullying are already emerging as the major reasons cited by the young people.

Youth Hub

 ‘A haven where young people can find their place’

In our One Thousand Conversations a strong need emerged for a place for young people to gather, meet friends and mentors and learn life skills.
After several months of consultation and planning, we now have a business case to present to the community, business, government and philanthropy seeking funding and other support for this important initiative.
A working group including business, community and youth leaders
developed the plan built on learnings from:

  • A desktop review of best practice in successful youth hubs;
  • Site visits to a number of successful youth hubs;
  • A youth hub forum attended by 80 people include a diverse group of young people;
  • An online survey; They have used the information gathered to develop a proposal, identify potential sites, develop a budget and identify possible partners and funders.

Watch this space as this exciting initiative unfolds.

Industry Links Coordinator 

A Partnership between the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and Shepparton High School

Carla Miles has been seconded from the Goulburn Broken CMA to work a day a week to develop curriculum links and working partnerships between Shepparton High School and regional land and water authorities such as Goulburn Broken CMA, Goulburn Valley (GV) Water, Goulburn Murray Water and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources/Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.  

Carla will identify local content that can be slotted into the curriculum to provide improved understanding among teachers and students of regional land and water, environmental and agricultural issues while raising awareness of local career opportunities in these areas.

The focus will mainly be on maths, science and geography with the possibility of exploring opportunities in other subjects in the future.

The Volunteer Project


With close to 200 volunteers supporting Lighthouse, we are starting to see quality partnerships and relationships between five primary schools and a number of businesses and organisations throughout Shepparton/Mooroopna.
One such relationship is between St Georges Road Primary School and GV Water. Vicki Scott (Fairley Fellow 2015) has been a champion for the project and has so far motivated 58 staff to roster on, listening to reading at the school for an hour/week. As part of the partnership, GV Water has provided water bottles to the new Prep students, installed water refill stations throughout the school grounds and is supporting the school to become a ‘Water Only School’.

Another exciting project is a partnership between a group of volunteers and Gowrie Street PS and Patricia Smith kinder. Both organisations are supported for their ‘Conversations with Kids’ project which aims to lift the vocabulary among Prep and kinder kids to the expected standard. A total of 20 talented volunteers visit the school kinder to play and talk and chat.


We have been grateful for a number of donations in recent times:

  • Mark and Sharon Baldwin and family kindly donated $500.
  • The Lady Golfers from Shepparton have donated their Christmas Appeal to the Lighthouse. Together these donations were used to provide toiletry packs and lunch/myki money for 33 students from McGuire College and Shepparton, Mooroopna, and Wanganui High schools who are part of the Boundless Program ( heading to Melbourne for work experience.
  • The Tat200 Charity bike ride and walk ( donated $15,000 which will be used to support our volunteers with resources such as sport, craft and reading materials.

Contact us

For further information regarding the Lighthouse Project please click to view our website, Facebook  and Twitter page.
Or contact Lisa McKenzie on  03 58 32 8218 or
Mobile 0427 212 651 or email

Kids enjoying the
SheppARTon Festival

Shepparton Botanical Garden

Lisa McKenzie speaking at the Department of Rural Health Public Lecture Series in February.

Fraser St, Shepparton


Fish restocking program on the Broken River.


Thank you from the Lighthouse Project

Copyright © 2016 Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project, All rights reserved.

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