More students in Sunbury will be protected from the sun’s damaging rays thanks to a Victorian Government funding to provide more shade in school playgrounds and outdoor areas.

Member for Sunbury Josh Bull MP today announced three schools in Sunbury will share in over $1.3 million of funding from the latest round of the School Shade Grants program.

The program provides grants to build new shade structures, repair existing structures, or create natural shade by planting trees. Funding is also provided to purchase sun protective items including hats and sunscreen.

The school community at Diggers Rest Primary School will receive $18,960.00 to install permanent shade over their table tennis tables where there is currently isn’t any. Sunbury College will also receive $20,916.00 to install permanent shade in a rest area near their soccer field, while Sunbury Heights Primary School will receive $550.72 for sun protective items including bucket hats and sunglasses.

Through this initiative the Victorian Government is helping children to be sun smart and prevent skin cancer, while still embracing the outdoors and keeping fit, active and healthy.

Childhood is a critical period during which exposure to UV radiation is more likely to contribute to skin cancer later in life. Schools play an important role teaching effective sun smart behaviours from an early age.

Shade alone can reduce overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75 per cent when used in combination with other sun protection strategies such as sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and protective clothing.

In 2018, melanoma was the fifth most common cancer in Victoria with 3,096 new cases diagnosed and sadly 291 deaths.

The School Shade Grants program is complemented by the Community Shade Grants program, which provides shade for community organisations. The outcome of the current round of the Community Shade Grants program will be announced soon.

So far, these programs have awarded 1715 grants totalling more than $16 million in funding across Victoria.

It forms part of the Government’s ambitious Victorian Cancer Plan 2020-24 which sets out a target to halve the proportion of Victorians diagnosed with preventable cancers by 2040.

Quotes attributable to Member for Sunbury Josh Bull MP:

“It’s great for kids to spend time playing outdoors and keeping active. These grants mean students in Sunbury can still enjoy the outdoors while having the necessary shade to remain safe from the sun.”

“Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer in Australia. It’s important we give Victorians the protection they need to stay sun smart.”

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