24 January 2014
Cancer Council is encouraging Australian secondary schools to do more to help prevent skin cancer, with the launch of its new secondary school shade initiative funded by the eftpos Giveback program.
From today, Australian high schools will be able to apply to receive up to $25,000 to install shade structures in their school grounds. The funding has become available after eftpos presented Cancer Council Australia with a $1 million donation.
Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Ian Olver, said the grants would help fill a gap when it came to adolescents and sun protection.
“Years of SunSmart education in primary schools has gone a long way in helping make sure our children are well protected during their early years,” Professor Olver said.
“However, when they move on to secondary school, a reluctance to wear hats and sunscreen means that this great work is often undone.
“Melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians aged 12-24 years, with more than double the number of cases of any other kind of cancer. In fact, Australian adolescents have by far the highest incidence of malignant melanoma in the world, compared with adolescents in other countries.
“Without access to proper shade during school hours, when UV levels are often at their peak, our teenagers are put at risk of developing skin cancer in the future. However, we know if shade is provided, they will use it.”
Cancer Council WA SunSmart manager, Mark Strickland, said there are four $25,000 grants available in Western Australia, and schools have until the middle of term two to enter.
“This is an easy and non-confrontational way to encourage this age group to reduce their UV exposure,” Mr Strickland said.
eftpos Managing Director, Bruce Mansfield, said he hoped local communities would encourage their local secondary school to apply for a grant.
“Cancer Council was selected as a recipient of our Giveback program donation based on the quality of their shade initiative and the public support that the program received on social media,” Mr Mansfield said.
“We are encouraging Australian parents, students, and local communities to talk to their local high schools about applying for a funding grant.
“Thanks to the millions of Australians who supported our Giveback program in the lead up to Christmas, eftpos was able to donate $1 million to Cancer Council.”
Those schools wishing to apply can find further information at www.cancer.org.au/shade