Libs promise $40,000 for outreach van

GOVERNMENT funding to Launceston City Mission's outreach van would be doubled if the Liberals won next month's state election, Bass Liberal MHA Michael Ferguson announced yesterday.

Mr Ferguson committed to doubling the annual operating grant given to the charity's Mission Beat van from $20,000 to $40,000 for three years.

Launceston City Mission chief executive Stephen Brown yesterday said the boost in funding would allow the charity to expand the outreach service.

"We're looking to reach three more sites at least a week, where we can connect with more students and their families," he said. "It will also enable us to support a wider range of community events without worrying about running out of hot food."

Between 7000 and 8000 students in the state's North connect with the Mission Beat van every year, giving thousands of families a point of first-contact into the services that the mission offers.

Mr Brown said additional funding would relieve the pressure of relying on donors.

"We're grateful for the funding we've received in the past but this will put us on surer footing," he said. "We can now spend more time out in the community providing hands-on services."

Mr Brown said if the larger grant was secured, fund-raising activities could shift focus to supporting mission services which operated at a loss.

Mr Ferguson said the announcement came after consultation with the state's charity sector revealed that the organisations were struggling to keep up with growing demand.

"We want to give these providers certainty into the future," Mr Ferguson said.

"Doubling the operating grant may not sound like a lot in the context of the election campaign, but it is guaranteed to make a meaningful difference to the work of the mission."

Annual operating grants for Loui's Van in Hobart and Gran's Van in Devonport would also be doubled.

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