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Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

The Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN) held two Pitch Nights this month, showcasing pitches from four local suicide prevention organisations and allowing participants to pledge funding for those they feel best meet the needs of the community.

HNECC PHN utilised the Pitch Night model to include local community members in the decision-making of PHN funding. Unlike a traditional tender process, the audiences had the unique power to allocate their $1,500 toward the program or programs they felt most passionate about.

The Pitch Night model was identified as an equitable way to share the Targeted Regional Initiatives for Suicide Prevention funding and engage with communities on how the PHN assigns funds to local services.

HNECC PHN Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nankervis said, disappointedly, the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions have high rates of suicidality and distress.

“The aim of the pitch nights is to provide funding to enhance the development of early intervention programs, as informed by local communities, to see a long-term reduction in suicide rates across the region.

“This is no small feat for the providers, however the inclusion of these programs across our region will make a substantial impact on communities’ awareness of mental ill-health, help-seeking mechanisms, referral pathways and accessing timely care.”

The PHN provided $150,000 to all four of the pitch programs as base level funding, with two audiences (in Belmont and Tamworth) pitching an additional $300,000 in pledge funds that would be shared across the four programs.

The four pitching organisations were selected through a competitive grant round run earlier in the year with submissions shortlisted and assessed via a selection panel. The successful organisations were:

  • Lead by Story
  • Tobwabba Aboriginal Medical Corporation
  • Youth Insearch Foundation
  • Top Blokes Foundation

Kate Arndell, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program Coordinator who attended the Tamworth event, said “as a member of the Tamworth Suicide Prevention Collaborative it was fantastic to attend the PHN Pitch Night in Tamworth.

“Hearing from the four projects pitching reinforced the inspiring work people are doing in the suicide prevention space and the impact we can have working with a whole of community approach. It was heartening to see the passion and dedication individuals have, to reducing the impact of suicide in our regional areas.”

Alexandra Potter, Manager, Suicide Prevention and System Improvement, Hunter New England Local Health District, said innovation in suicide prevention is a necessity.

“Every new idea has the potential to save lives across the Hunter, New England and Central Coast regions and I commend the PHN for not only supporting innovation but showcasing it in a way which drove community engagement and a reaffirmed commitment to suicide prevention in our communities.”

The live crowdfunding events were hosted by The Funding Network (TFN) and created a dynamic energy in the room, where each audience member had the power to pledge their allocated funds to support programs they felt best addressed their community’s needs.

Attendees will hear more about how their support has contributed to helping these social change initiatives flourish in the coming months.


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