LOCAL initiative, the Feet First Project, has put Whitsunday Community Services in the running to become Queensland’s community group of 2019.

The support service has been nominated for the Queensland Community Awards Community Group of the Year, a statewide award that acknowledges and rewards the contributions of individuals, communities and businesses throughout Queensland.

Whitsunday Community Services started their Feet First Project in January 2017 to help ease financial pressure in families when sending their children to school by distributing vouchers for school shoes.

Kicking off with 30 vouchers at a cost of $1500, this project has grown immensely since its inception with 497 vouchers at a cost of $22,500 distributed in January this year.

Whitsunday Community Services executive officer Rebecca Woods said by targeting families with education resources to support their children, the stigma associated with accessing charity became insignificant.

Through working at the Whitsunday Community Services, Ms Woods said many families expressed their deterrence from available support due to the stigma associated with accessing charity services and a presumption others were in worse circumstance than themselves.

Ms Woods said parents and guardians could feel more in control of their abilities to get their children ready to attend school with the support of the Feet First Project, which helped them feel empowered to deal with other issues in their lives.

by Shannen McDonald and Georgia Simpson, Whitsunday Times