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A message from David Nichols, Central Coast Love Bites Coordinator:

Back L-R: SPCC Student Victoria Olsen, SPCC principal Helen Finlay, SPCC student Dominic Wallace, Central Coast Council Youth Services Team Leader Steve Knee, 2GO FM Breakfast Show Host & Love Bites Central Coast Ambassador Mandy Coolen. Front L-R: NSW Police D&FV Coordinator (Northern Region) & Love Bites Central Coast Committee member Sharon Wilkinson, RYSS GenQ Facilitator & EIPP Child, Youth and Family Caseworker & Love Bites Central Coast Committee member Alexa Lovell, Love Bites Central Coast Coordinator (Coast Shelter) David Nichols, Minister for Families & Social Services the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, Coast Shelter Practice Manager & Love Bites Central Coast Committee member Mary Biddle, NAPCAN National Stakeholder Manager Madelene McGrath.

An exciting development for the Love Bites program on the Central Coast, with The Federal Government awarding funding of $768,208 over the next two years! I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Love Bites community on the Central Coast for this ground breaking achievement. An event was held at St Philip’s Christian College, Gosford on Wednesday 8th May 2019 to officially announce the funding package. Minister for Families & Social Services, Paul Fletcher was guest of honour at the event, along with local Love Bites community partners and St Philip’s year 12 students who had the opportunity with Minister Fletcher to reflect on the impact and inspiration the Love Bites program has had in their lives.

Sincere thanks to our local Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks and the Federal Government, who have demonstrated their strong commitment to Love Bites and holding it up as a key respectful relationships education program making a difference to young people on the Central Coast. This decision is a resounding endorsement of the need and positive impact of the Love Bites program.

This investment in the future of our young people furthermore recognises that resilient and committed local partnerships – strongly represented through the Love Bites-Central Coast Committee – are the foundation to successful program growth and sustainability.

As lead agency responsible for program coordination, Coast Shelter is proud to work collaboratively within the schools and community space to enhance early intervention support opportunities for local young people. Key sector partners, such as Interrelate have expressed how thrilled they are to continue to collaborate with services and schools in facilitating the Love Bites program on the Central Coast. Interrelate are excited about the potential, direction, and reach of the program with the newly allocated funding.

Love Bites-Central Coast also draws expertise from key partnerships with the Epicentres’ LINKS Youth Support Services (LYSS), NSW Health, NSW Education, NSW Police, Central Coast Council and Regional Youth Support Services (RYSS). LINKS Youth Support Services staff were first trained in the Love Bites program through NAPCAN in 2009 with the support of the local Tuggerah Lakes Area Command. Since then the full suite of programming has been delivered to both Public, Catholic and Independent schools, along with a number of more select targeted groups. RYSS became lead agency co-ordinators and established the Love Bites Committee for the region from 2013-2015, at which point Coast Shelter took on the lead agency responsibility. Love Bites-Central Coast recognises the commitment from LYSS and RYSS in establishing the successful facilitation and training and enduring partnership approach to program delivery.

David Nichols, the Coordinator of Love Bites on the Central Coast is thrilled about the opportunity, and wishes to thank NAPCAN for their enduring guidance and support. Together, with LINKS Youth Support Services, Regional Youth Support Services and Coast Shelter we are able to formalise the partnership which will strengthen program coordination and delivery across the Central Coast. The partnership approach will build capacity of the program and more importantly, provide the fundamental tools and information about healthy and respectful relationships to a wider reach of young people.