Bellingen youth environment group gets funding

THE whoops of joy came by text, email and yes, even by phone.

A week later Bellingen's EYE (Environmental Youth Experience) kids are still smiling after receiving the news that $190,000 over three years is coming their way from the Foundation for Young Australians based in Victoria.

The funds, won after a tough competitive application process will be used to realise their program of environmental initiatives for the shire.

Co-ordinator Lisa Siegel said the application had taken months of work climaxing with an incredibly intense final burst when the Foundation was returning and re-returning budgets for fine tuning as the deadline approached.

“The working sessions were amazing,” Ms Siegel said.

“There were kids all over the floor and at computers, the music was up and then turned down every time anyone had a question - there was discussion, a decision and then the music would go up again.”

For 15-year-old Sam Hughes the news was very fulfilling.

“It represents that we can honestly do things - it confirms and clarifies our direction,” Sam said.

“I hope it makes a difference - maybe not globally but if we can change one mind or fix one thing, we've done well.”

Colleague Ashley Roper said getting the money was very exciting.

“I think we definitely deserved it ... now we can go ahead and make a difference.”

The funds will be used for youth camps, joint Urban Landcare projects, community education and to host guest speakers for a lecture series.

“Right now the kids are working on their publicity and the website,” Ms Siegel said.

“The next thing you'll hear is when we launch our 2009 program.”

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