Northern Futures joins with Meli

June 23, 2024 BY

L-R: Northern Futures board chair Rob Birch, Northern Futures CEO Andrew Palmer and Meli CEO Grant Boyd. Photo: SUPPLIED

NORTHERN Futures, the respected grassroots program dedicated to supporting disadvantaged communities in Geelong’s north, will keep its doors open after joining leading community services organisation Meli.

Northern Futures chief executive officer Andrew Palmer said the decision reflected a mutual respect between the two not-for-profit organisations and a shared commitment to better address barriers to employment in Corio and Norlane.

“The success of Northern Futures’ model is the strength of trusted partnerships and the effectiveness of our bespoke support to clients.

Northern Futures board chair Rob Birch said stakeholders and existing funders had unanimously confirmed their support of Northern Futures at Meli.

“The ongoing success, sustainability and growth of Northern Futures is our highest priority, and we believe that joining Meli is the key to this success.”

Meli chief executive officer Grant Boyd said bringing Northern Futures into Meli would build on the positive outcomes already achieved and provide a foundation for better outcomes going forward.

“Bringing Northern Futures and Meli together will enable a firm foundation from which to build new and even more effective approaches to services aligned with Meli’s purpose, which is supporting people, strengthening communities.”

He said the team at Northern Futures would continue in their roles at the current Norlane-based location and existing clients would experience no disruption to their service.

Northern Futures provides critical wrap-around support to help clients navigate employment barriers to help them into sustainable employment as a bridge out of poverty.

Data showed 78 per cent of clients who undertook Northern Futures training in 2022-2023 found employment, and both their training completion and employment outcomes consistently exceeded national outcomes for previously unemployed people.

Despite the record of success and 2021 Census data identifying Norlane-Corio as Victoria’s most disadvantaged Small Area (SA2), changes to funding for education to employment services across the state last year meant Northern Futures’ sustainability was at risk.

Mr Birch expressed his thanks for the longstanding support and advocacy for Northern Futures from Deputy Prime Minister and Corio federal member Richard Marles, Lara MP Ella George and Geelong MP Christine Couzens, along with a long list of committed supporters.

Mr Boyd encouraged any potential employers who would like to hear more about partnering with Northern Futures at Meli to get in touch.

“Sustainable communities are built by increasing economic participation and social inclusion, and we all have a role to play in achieving that for our community,” he said.