Federation University Australia (Fed Uni) in collaboration with Central Highlands Community Legal Centre and Ballarat Community Health have been awarded a major grant from the Victorian Legal Services Board to establish the Central Highlands Advocacy Health Alliance (AHA) to improve legal, health and wellbeing outcomes for disadvantaged young people.

In Victoria – especially in rural and regional areas – there is a high incidence of young people including those with mental health and drug/alcohol issues who also experience multiple legal problems. Funding from this grant will be used to develop an alliance between local health agencies and legal organisations to integrate vital legal services within healthcare programs for at-risk youth 16-25 years of age. This service is free and confidential.

This project will establish co-located health, welfare, medical and legal services, which will be operational by early July.  As part of this project, a website will also be developed to provide information including referral pathways for the newly established service, along with the preparation of a Tool Kit, for dissemination amongst health professionals and agencies.

The program will provide early intervention targeting both the legal and health/wellbeing issues of at-risk youth at the three Ballarat Community Health sites located in Sebastopol, Wendouree and Lucas. The program will enable young people throughout the Central Highlands to have access to the service. We would like to welcome Caleb Leitmanis, Lawyer and Linda Nyikos, administrative assistant, to Ballarat Community Health. This service operates Tuesday , Wednesday and Thursdays until December 2016.
Caleb can be contacted on 0417 310 889.