Whitelion’s Bail Out roars into Sydney

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For the first time ever, renowned annual fundraiser the Whitelion Bail Out is coming to Sydney.

In stark contrast to the traditional charity fundraiser, there will be no five course meals, auction items or black ties. On Friday 13 May, Sydney’s Whitelion Bail Out will see approximately 40 members of the general public don prison overalls and get locked up overnight in Yasmar, a former Juvenile detention facility in the inner-western suburb of Haberfield.

The event gives participants an opportunity to step into the shoes of a young person who has been disconnected from our community due to abuse and neglect, drug addiction and poverty. Each ‘inmate’ will be given a target of $1,500 to raise before they ‘make bail’ and can be released. The following morning, NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice, the Honourable Greg Smith will be officially releasing and pardoning all inmates. Following this, they participants will be greeted by friends, families and colleagues at a special celebratory breakfast.

Running in Melbourne since 2006, the multi-award winning Whitelion Bail Out has received massive support from the public, the business world and the media alike. Recognised nationally as an innovative fundraiser, the event has been named ‘Best Special Event’ by the Fundraising Institute of Australia three times.

The theatrical experience will see actors take on the roles of police and prison wardens. Inmates will be processed, fingerprinted, attend a bail hearing and participate in group activities before sleeping overnight in a cell.

Whitelion is not-for-profit community organisation that supports young people at risk to reach their full potential. The organisation works to build meaningful relationships and create opportunities that enable those that have experienced the youth justice and out of home care systems to reconnect with society.

In late 2010, Whitelion commenced operation in NSW, bringing its specialised Employment Program to Sydney. The program offers a unique and highly individual approach to finding young people at-risk real jobs with real wages through the provision of support to both employers and young people. The program works with young people involved in the Juvenile Justice systems to determine a vocational path and gradually builds confidence through job ready skill development, work experience, short term placement and supported ongoing employment.

CEO and Co-Founder of Whitelion, Mark Watt said: “We are delighted to be able to bring such a unique and successful event to Sydney. Participants will be offered an experience they will never forget whilst funds raised will help ensure Whitelion continues to provide pathways into meaningful, sustainable and ongoing employment for many more young people.

“What’s more, as we continue our work in Sydney we hope to extend the breadth and range of our services to further meet the needs of young people across New South Wales.”

High profile people already committed to getting locked up include Sydney Opera House CEO Richard Evans, Former Australian Rugby League and CEO of Central Coast Bears, Greg Florimo as well as participants from The Nous Group Nandos, Westpac and two directors from Whitelion’s major partner Schweppes Australia.

For further information and to view the inmate profiles visit http://whitelionbailout.org.au