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More shade protection for Victoria’s school students

More Victorian school students learning and playing outdoors are set to receive some much needed protection from harmful UV radiation with the installation of shade around their schools.

Victorian Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, visited Frankston Special Developmental School with Member for Frankston, Paul Edbrooke and SunSmart Ambassador Catherine Andrews to announce 71 schools will share in $1.4 million through the second round of the Victorian Government’s School Shade Grant Program.

The program provides grants for shade development, including building new shade, repairing existing shade or creating natural shade by planting trees.

At Frankston Special Developmental School, $15,300 will go towards building a new permanent shade structure over a new playground.

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. It’s estimated that 40,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Victoria every year.

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.

So far, the Schools and Community programs have awarded over $5 million in shade grants across three rounds with further rounds still to come.

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