New role leads program: Encouraging community connections

Published on 01 June 2023

Matt Debreceny SIAG.jpg

As part of a statewide initiative aimed at promoting community connection and supporting mental health, Benalla Rural City Council has appointed a Social Inclusion Action Group Coordinator who will lead the flagship mental health program.

With more than 15 years’ experience working in the community services sector, Matt Debreceny has been appointed as program Coordinator and will lead the project to help further improve the social connection and inclusion of the Benalla and district community.

The Social Inclusion Action Group (SIAG) will take a community-driven approach to better address and improve mental health, wellbeing and support.

“Community health and community connection are very important to me,” Matt said.

“This program is a bold initiative from the State Government, and it is an exciting opportunity to empower the community to help identify common goals and co-design initiatives to support social inclusion.”

SIAG is a flagship initiative recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System. Benalla Rural City Council is one of five LGAs across the state to initially roll out the program.

Benalla Rural City Council Mayor Cr Bernie Hearn said the initiative highlights Council’s commitment to a connected and healthy community.

“The SIAG program is a prevention initiative that will be community led and owned, empowering communities to identify their own needs, make decisions and develop solutions at a local level.”

“We look forward to working with the community to design and action solutions to support positive mental health and wellbeing outcomes.

“The delivery of these SIAGs will positively impact the mental health of families across our community.

“We thank the Victorian Government for funding this program,” Cr Hearn said.

The SIAG program will advertise for Expressions of Interest in coming weeks, with Matt hopeful that it attracts people from all ages and backgrounds, including:

• young people

• single parents

• people who are not in education, training or employment

• people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities (especially refugees)

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

• people with a disability • LGBTIQ+ communities

• older people.

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