Students in Creswick North are set to receive some much needed protection from harmful UV radiation with the installation of shade around their schools.
The Victorian Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford and SunSmart Ambassador Catherine Andrews visited Creswick North Primary School to announce shading for the school as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s $1.4 million School Shade Grant Program.
The program provides grants for shade development, including building shade, repairing existing shade or creating natural shade by planting trees.
At Creswick North Primary School, $25,000 will go towards building a permanent shade structure over a playground for their students.
The Victorian Government has provided $15 million for skin cancer prevention initiatives – a key election promise – including $5 million for SunSmart campaigns and $10 million in grants for shade in public places and schools.
Childhood and adolescence are critical periods during which exposure to UV radiation is more likely to contribute to skin cancer later in life.
Schools are an important setting to encourage and instil good sun smart behaviours from an early age. Schools who are awarded a grant will be required to review and update their sun protection policies to demonstrate their commitment to being sun smart.
Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and in 2014 melanoma was the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Victoria.
The Schools Shade Grant Program is complemented by the Community Shade Grant Program, which provides grants for shade in community settings such as parks, sports clubs and playgrounds.
The Schools and Community programs have awarded over $5 million in shade grants across three rounds with further rounds still to come.