Ladder officially opens its doors in Western Sydney

The Ladder Step Up Western Sydney program has been officially launched in Mount Druitt by the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, the Honorable Pru Goward MP.

Ladder, with the support of major partners, the AFL, AFL Players and GWS GIANTS, will implement an early intervention program that will target young people aged 17-20.

The program will assist young people to develop life skills, improve their health and wellbeing, establish social relationships and community connections, and secure ongoing education, training or employment.

The young people will be coached by Ladder Development Coaches and be supported by volunteers and mentors who are GWS GIANTS male and female footballers, female athletes and community leaders and business executives.

The launch was attended by key stakeholders, including the CEO of AFL NSW/ACT Sam Graham, GWS GIANTS Chief Operating Officer, James Avery, GWS GIANTS players, representatives of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), Deputy Mayor of Blacktown, Councillor Tony Bleasdale and other respective community organisations.

The NSW Government announced in November 2016 for $1.3 million in funding over two years.

“So often young people at 18 leave care. They don’t have a family they can ring up and borrow the car from, talk about a problem with, borrow some money from,” Minister Goward said.

“And they often end up taking huge risks with their lives because they’ve got nobody to turn to.

“That’s why this program we hope will really give our young care leavers a very big chance in life”.

Ladder CEO, Elisabeth Tuckey reaffirmed their strong commitment to youth participation and wanting young people to have a genuine say in the development of Ladder Step Up.

“Following the funding announcement, we conducted research with Red Rollers that spoke directly to young people from out-of-home-care about how we should develop and implement this program to best meet their needs.

“Holding their own birth certificate, having a Medicare card and understanding insurance and tax were important for young people.

“Some of the basic life skill practices we take for granted were also brought up, such as learning how to use the microwave to cook food or how to catch a train.

“Ladder’s Step Up Western Sydney program will help with all of this and more” Ms Tuckey said.

The program will significantly contribute to reducing youth unemployment and will build social capital in one of the most disadvantaged outer suburban and fringe regional areas of Australia.

The first intake of young people will commence on May 9, 2017.