LEAD-ON Ballarat will fold due to lack of funding.
Beginning in 2005, the youth organisation had come under United Way Ballarat’s operations six months ago in a last-ditch effort to save it.
However, United Way chief executive officer Geoff Sharp said his organisation’s “wafer thin” margins had made it unable to continue supporting Lead-On.
“United Way tried to reshape the organisation to be as lean as possible and to find new income streams but, after an exhaustive and gruelling board meeting this week, the difficult decision has been made to call time,” Mr Sharp said.
“Our first and primary concern is to ensure that the young people who have engaged with us build relationships with similar organisations across Ballarat.
“We will be working with groups such as BYou, YMCA, Highlands LLEN and others to ‘plug them in’ to what is happening in our community.”
Mr Sharp said it was clear young people in Ballarat faced substantial challenges.
“Sadly, we have neither the resources nor the funding streams to be able to carry on the Lead-On projects as they stand.”
Founded in Bendigo in 1999, Lead-On initially spread to a number of regional areas across Australia with the aim of strengthening links between youth and the community.
However, all but Ballarat have since folded due to declining corporate, philanthropic and government funding.
Lead-On Ballarat’s programs include the award-winning L2P, which helped teach learners to drive, plus event management, film making, music, writing and photography, public art and IT projects.