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What is HEY?

Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) is about supporting the health and wellbeing of LGBTQIA+ young Victorians. The first of its kind in Australia, HEY brings together a network of partner organisations specialising in support and services for LGBTQIA+ young people.

HEY partners provide peer support, referral, community visibility, celebration and education.  The vision of the HEY partners is that LGBTQIA+ young people in Victoria have their rights upheld, and are safe, empowered and celebrated.

Every year, Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic), in partnership with the Victorian Government, run the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) Grants. Over 10 years, HEY Grants have supported over 111 organisations with more than $1 million of funding to improve LGBTQIA+ young people's mental health and well-being.

With years of lived experience, expertise, and evidence-based practice, the HEY Partners and Grants are supporting more LGBTIQA+ young people than ever. We are committed to supporting young people in their self-discovery and pride, to connecting them with each other and their community, and to improving their overall mental health and wellbeing.

HEY is proudly funded and supported by the Victorian Government.


What are the HEY Grants for?

The HEY Grants support projects that are designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ young people.

There are two categories of HEY Grants.

  • Youth led projects are for LGBTIQA+ young people with innovative projects designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of their LGBTIQA+ peers. A youth led application mustbe proposed and led by people who are under 25! They can get people older than that to proofread and assist them.
  • Social connectedness projects are for organisations and services to expand or improve their support for LGBTIQA+ young people, or to run targeted projects for LGBTIQA+ young people that will improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Who can apply?

Anybody whose organisation or project is designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ young people in Victoria is encouraged to apply.

An individual with a HEY grant project idea should apply through an existing group they have a prior relationship with (such as a council, a school, a LLEN, or an organisation) or with the assistance of an appropriate auspice organisation, such as Auspicious Arts.

Types of organisations that can apply include:

  • Victorian not-for-profit organisations that are incorporated or limited by guarantee
  • Victorian Local Government Authorities
  • Victorian not-for-profit organisations that have an auspice arrangement with either of the above
  • Victorian schools, (public, Catholic and independent), TAFEs, and universities

HEY actively encourages applications that are led by, and designed for:

  • LGBTIQA+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people,
  • LGBTIQA+ disabled young people, and LGBTIQA+ neurodiverse young people,
  • LGBTIQA+ young people of colour, and LGBTIQA+ young people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • LGBTIQA+ community members who are underrepresented in services and programs, such as asexual and aromantic young people, or young people with intersex variations.

If you are a member of any of these communities and would like further information or assistance on applying for a HEY Grant, we would love to support you.

How much can I apply for?

Grants available in both categories are for up to $10,000 per project.

Application Support Letters information and examples

We require letters of support as part of the grant applications to show that the project will go ahead with the appropriate support.

You can provide up to two support letters, and we recommend supplying both if you can.

If your project involves working with another organisation, like Minus18 or Project Rockit, then we would expect to see support letters from these organisations. Other letters of support might come from an auspice organisation or from a person or separate organisation who has worked with you or your organisation in the past.

Support letters should not be from the same organisation making an application.

What should be included in a support letter:

  • What is the Name of the Application being supported. For example, Best Queer Youth Mental Health Supports Project.
  • Who is the organisation/person providing the support letter. For example, Great and Fabulous Queers.
  • How the support letter writer is connected to the project/applicant proposed and how long have they been connected. For example, ‘Our service, Great and Fabulous Queers, has been operating in the local area of Little Town Victoria for 10 years. We provide mental health support for community with a focus on LGBTIQA+ families. We have known the Great and Inclusive Queer Youth project for 6 months and have supported them to develop their HEY Grant application proposal, ‘Best Queer Youth Mental Health Supports Project.
  • A description of the benefit this project will have for young people. For example, ‘We believe this project will bring together the ideas of our young LGTBIQA+ people and their allies to create a safer and more vibrant community for Little Town, Victoria. Visibility and safety is an important aspect of mental health. Our Organisation knows how difficult it can be to engage young people outside of the Big Town areas and this project is peer led which will increase its appeal and engagement for the young people of Little Town. We believe this project will have a positive impact on increasing access to support services that are needed for our young LGBTIQA+ people.’
  • What supports (if any) will the support letter writer provide during the project (either formally or informally). For example, ‘Alongside the Best Queer Youth Mental Health Supports Project, our service, Great and Fabulous Queers, will offer wellbeing and mental health support from an LGTBIQA+ Family Practitioner at 2hrs per fortnight as well as informal briefing and debriefing support for young people running the project.’
  • Any other relevant information.
What types of things will be funded?

HEY Grants fund projects that:

  • Specifically target LGBTIQA+ young people
  • Are youth-led by LGBTIQA+ or run with consultation with LGBTIQA+ young people
  • Address a specific need LGBTIQA+ young people have
  • Are innovative, by which we mean creative, new, or original
  • Set reasonable goals. $10,000 will not solve homophobia—but it can fund an awareness campaign about the harm of homophobic slurs.

HEY Grants also support the implementation of tried and tested models in communities where existing support for LGBTIQA+ young people is limited. A Pride Ball or a queer support group is still innovative if it’s the first one in your region!

Find examples of projects that have been funded in the previous rounds: HEY Grants

Is my application Youth Led or Social Connectedness?

If your proposed activities or project have been designed and will be run by people under 26 years old, the application should be submitted as Youth Led. This means your application should also be written by the young people applying, although they can get help and proofreading assistance from older people.

If your project has been designed by people over 26, it should be submitted as Social Connectedness. Young people still need to be consulted and involved throughout the project. For more information and resources on how youth participation and co-design could look for your project, and why it matters, check out our resources at Yerp.

If you’re not still not sure what category your project falls in after checking these resources and the criteria, please email Derm Ryan (he/him) at HEY@YACVic.org.au.

What will not be funded?
  • Capital expenditure (defined as “money spent by a business or organization on acquiring or maintaining fixed assets, such as land, buildings, and equipment”) exceeding $750.00
  • Duplicate projects, for example, a peer support group for LGBTIQA+ young people in a town that already has a peer support group for LGBTIQA+ young people
  • Staff attendance at conferences and events
  • Retrospective activities
  • Ongoing, core organisational operating costs that are part of the organisation’s overall budget (e.g. building maintenance, catering)
  • Commercial and profit making activities, organisations, or individual persons
  • Projects that have already commenced, unless there is a clear argument for extending the reach of a project into new areas, locations or population groups (evidence of the existing program’s effectiveness will be required)
  • Projects that operate outside the state of Victoria (inquire to YACVic for projects that operate on the border)
  • Projects that are not ChildSafe or that cannot be run in a ChildSafe manner
  • Projects that do not reflect consultation with young people, are not led by young people, or do not reflect youth co-design principles
  • Projects not specifically targeting or inclusive of LGBTIQA+ young people.
What is an auspice organisation?

For the purposes of these grants, an auspice organisation is an organisation that will take on the legal and financial responsibility for the grant agreement. The auspice organisation will sign the grant agreement, report on the outcomes of the project and submit a financial acquittal of the funds received for the project.

The auspice organisation may not be responsible for carrying out the work of the project, but they are responsible for ensure it is completed under the terms of the grant agreement.

Further information about the responsibilities of an auspice organisation can be found at NFPLaw.org.au/Auspicing and YouthCentral.vic.gov.au/What-Is-An-Auspice-Organisation.

Can two or more organisations apply in partnership for a grant?

Yes, partnerships and collaboration between organisations is encouraged. In these cases, a lead organisation should be nominated who will hold the funds and be responsible for the project and financial reporting.

My organisation is not an LGBTIQA+ youth specific organisation. Can we apply?

Yes! Expanding existing programs and organisations to better include LGBTIQA+ young people is strongly encouraged; for example, expanding a support program for disabled young people, to run for LGBTIQA+ disabled young people.

If you can demonstrate strong relationships with LGBTIQA+ youth organisations, and a track record of working on LGBTIQA+ youth and related matters, you should apply.

How does HEY define ‘young person?’ Is it okay if my project covers a range of ages?

YACVic defines young people as between the ages of 12-25, which is a good guide. However, there is no specific age range for HEY; we equally welcome projects for anyone from primary schoolers to university students, so long as your project considers them young people.

As long as your project follows ChildSafe principles and primarily targets and benefits LGBTIQA+ young people, it is eligible for a HEY Grant.

Our organisation has partial funding for a project and is looking for additional funds for the same project. Can we apply?

Yes, however your proposal will need to explain why further funding is required, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the existing project. You will need to demonstrate that a HEY Grant would make a meaningful contribution to your existing project.

If your project is dependent on multiple sources of unconfirmed income, including other grants, your application should reflect how the project will run in the scenario it only receives a HEY grant.

Our organisation received HEY Grant funding in a previous round. Can we apply again?

Yes, but success in a previous round does not guarantee success in future rounds.  The committee encourages organisations applying for an additional HEY Grant to be explicit about how an additional round of funding will build on the work of the previous project.

The committee also encourages you to give some thought to ongoing strategies that will be put in place as part of an additional funded project to reduce reliance on the funding pool in the future.

Do we need deductable gift recipient status or to be a tax-exempt charity to be eligible?

No, as long as you are a not-for-profit organisation, you are eligible to apply. 

When does the project have to start and finish?

Project commencement and completion should occur within 12 months of the funds being received. If the project has already commenced (subject to the requirements listed above) project completion is required within 12 months of grant allocation.

What happens if the project changes?

HEY is very flexible with changes in projects once a project is funded. If there is a change to your project, email us with the details of how it’s changing and how it affects your budget.

If a project changes between submitting your application and hearing back (for example, if an auspicing body pulls out, or anything happens that means the project cannot run), let us know by email ASAP.

What level of financial acquittal is required?

A detailed final financial acquittal is required at the conclusion of the project that shows how all funds have been expended. You should keep your invoices and receipts from throughout the project. Unexpended funds may be required to be returned—but we prefer not to do this, so contact us if this is appearing likely.

Why do I need to provide two letters?

We require letters of support as part of the grant applications to show that the project will go ahead with the appropriate support. You can provide up to two support letters, and we recommend supplying both if you can.

If your project involves working with another organisation, like Minus18 or Project Rockit, then we would expect to see support letters from these organisations. Other letters of support might come from an auspice organisation or from a person or organisation who has worked with you or your organisation in the past.

Who makes the decision and how?

An independent committee, including young LGBTIQA+ young people, will provide recommendations based on your responses to the grant criteria, to the Minister for Mental Health. Based on these recommendations, the Minister will decide on the successful applicants.

When will we find out if we’ve been successful?

You will be notified of the outcome of your application in late October. Your organisation may be invited to an interview process to finalise a grant approval, however notice will be provided if this occurs.

What else do I need to provide?

With your application you must provide:

  • Responses to the Grant criteria
  • A maximum of two signed letters of support from two different referees.

If your application is successful you will also be required to:

  • Sign an agreement that outlines responsibilities and reporting requirements before the grant will be distributed.
What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

If you have any questions that aren’t answered in the Grants criteria or guidelines, please email HEY@YACVic.org.au.

You can also attend one of our online info sessions, or watch our 2020 info session below.