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BlueScope Steel has had a long and valuable association with the Surf Life Saving movement in the Illawarra region, having supported the Illawarra and South Coast branches since the mid 1980's.
In 2004/2005, the sponsorship of the South Coast branch was used to fund the award winning Surf and Beach Safety Program.
The program aims to improve beach safety and lower the incidence of drowning in our region. It has a number of parts, including:
Almost 14,000 students from 44 schools participated in the program in 2004/2005. The schools targeted for the program were from Wollongong, the Southern Highlands, the South Coast and the ACT.
Through the education program, students learn to recognise danger signs at the beach or swimming pool, identify rips and currents and understand the principles of resuscitation and safe sun practices. They become leaders in their local community and gain skills not previously available to students not associated with surf lifesaving.
Senior students also have the opportunity to earn EAR and CPR certificates and the Bronze Medallion.
The program has been very well received by schools, students and the community.
During 2004/2005, it was recognised by both the NSW Government and the Surf Life Saving movement, winning the NSW Government Department of Sport and Recreation Award for Best Education Program and the NSW Surf Life Saving Award of Excellence for Best Community Education Program.
In addition to sponsorship of the South Coast branch Surf and Beach Safety Program, BlueScope Steel supports Surf Living Saving Illawarra through the provision of equipment, administration and general running costs.
BlueScope Steel is supporting Illawarra community radio station VOX FM by sponsoring the training of young presenters to develop unique programming for the young people of the Illawarra.
Entitled 'I Love My Life', the project targets at risk young people aged 15 to 25, from all areas of the Illawarra community.
Young people participating in the 'I Love My Life' program receive training in interview techniques and hands-on experience in interviewing, editing and production. Participants interview members of the youth community, showing how young people are making a contribution to the community and encouraging others to do the same. The broadcasts also provide information on where to get help for those suffering from low self esteem and depression.
The 'I Love My Life' project aims to:
BlueScope Steel's sponsorship of the project enables VOX FM to provide training for young presenters in areas such as voice training for announcing and voice-over work, production techniques for recorded and live-to-air broadcasts and training to improve their creativity, originality and general program presentation skills.
VOX FM is the Illawarra region's only community radio station. It has been broadcasting a diverse range of programs on a fulltime basis since 1990 to a listening audience stretching from Helensburgh in the north to Gerroa in the south.
The BlueScope Steel Youth Orchestra celebrated its 20th anniversary year in style during August 2005, as one of the headline acts at two gala concerts at the Sultan's Palace in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta.
The concert had a dual purpose - to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the coronation of the Sultan of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X and to raise funds for around 800 students from Aceh studying in Yogyakarta, many of whom were left orphaned when their families died in the devastating tsunami last December.
The Sultan invited the BlueScope Steel Youth Orchestra and the Australian Boys Choir to join some of Indonesia's best young performers in a benefit concert called Gita Swarasisya Buana, which means the song of students' voices among nations.
The concert was staged at the Sultan's Palace, with an audience of 1000 people and raised approximately 160 million rupiah (A$23,000) for the Acehenese students.
The BlueScope Steel Orchestra also performed at a private function for the Sultan and 150 of his key tsunami fundraising supporters. They were joined at various stages by 20 top Indonesian brass and percussion players for a collaboration of Indonesian music and also accompanied two of the country's leading pop singers.
The orchestra's invitation to perform at such a prestigious occasion recognises the outstanding reputation it has developed over the past 20 years.
The 55-strong orchestra, along with conductor Nigel Edwards, orchestral manager Tanya Phillips and other support crew, spent a week in Indonesia as guests of the Sultan. When they were not rehearsing for their performances they had the chance to visit some of the sights of Yogyakarta - Indonesia's cultural and educational capital - and meet the students from Aceh.
The Indonesian visit provided a great opportunity for the Illawarra's talented young musicians to perform in another country and help strengthen the already strong bonds between the region and Yogyakarta, fostered by Wollongong City Gallery.
In addition to its ongoing support of the BlueScope Steel Orchestra, the Company celebrated its 20-year sponsorship of the orchestra by funding the transport, staging and other costs for the orchestra and crew.
During the last 20 years, more than 500 young musicians have played with the orchestra, which has provided a springboard for aspiring young musicians from the area to achieve their dream of a career in music.
Orchestra members have gone on to perform with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic in London and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Others have undertaken study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and other musical institutions around the country.
We began our sponsorship by providing the funds to purchase the expensive instruments needed to establish the orchestra and our support has grown from there to include scholarships and meeting many of their operating costs.