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Westside Circus Inc

Westside Circus Supporting Youth at Risk



Westside Circus is Melbourne’s leading Charitable Institution dedicated to providing circus activities that enrich the lives of young people by developing their creativity and imagination. We exist to make a positive difference to the lives of young people aged 3–25 from diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds and focus on engaging young people who are in vulnerable or disadvantaged circumstances because we understand they have less access to activities we believe so vital.

We believe that creativity and imagination are invaluable human assets that build empathy and can be harnessed to positively change the world; and that circus is an excellent way to learn them.

Circus is a welcoming, vibrant art form attracting diverse participants. It is a fun and active way for young people to build essential life skills such as confidence, resilience, creative problem solving and perseverance whilst increasing physical health. It offers an opportunity to experience success and feel pride, for young people who may not often experience this within their social and family settings. Through circus, participants can overcome vulnerabilities, learn about appropriate risk taking, push their physical boundaries, and build relationships and trust through shared experience. In the process they will be supported to redefine their expectations, re-imagining what they are capable of.

Our belief is that circus is inclusive of all abilities. Being a fringe form itself, it is able to capture the interest of disengaged, at-risk youth. Our participants’ demographics support this, including: at risk youth, CALD communities, newly-arrived migrant families, young people with disabilities and families living locally with an interest in circus. Circus is an excellent discipline to develop personal goal setting, positive risk-taking, leadership skills and problem solving, confidence and creative self-expression.

We are excited by how each young person responds artistically to the world around them using circus and believe diversity and play are the keys to unlocking life’s richness.

Our programs develop and highlight the aspirations of young people to go where their interest takes them; young people can find pathways into professional circus through vocational training or tertiary education, use circus to develop personal capacity or simply have a lot of fun.

Circus is inclusive of all abilities. We welcome and celebrate difference. We are a respected organisation within the arts industry and we take our leadership role seriously. All of our classes are conducted in a group environment that encourages support and fun while improving on skills, strength and flexibility.

We are Circus done differently; Circus Plus!

How will the funds be used?

Every donation, no matter how big or small makes a difference. Support Westside Circus and you are then supporting social inclusion in the wider community, inclusiveness and creativity!

Donations to Westside will be used to support our community programs and for general program livelihood.

We are currently looking for donations towards the following community projects: 

Pages Fly is an early learning and literacy program that uses social circus and the creation of children’s’ storybooks to support newly arrived/refugee communities to develop language skills, build community and celebrate diversity. In partnership with Local Councils and playgroups, we combine circus, storytelling, social and literacy activities with a strong community learning approach that enables participants to grow in confidence and become actively involved in building their own child friendly community. The project has an immediate, educational and social impact on young children and their families recently settled into Melbourne through circus activities and the publication of children’s books written and illustrated by the project participants.

MY Circus, a mixed ability Youth Circus program, champions a more inclusive creative community through increased opportunities for young people with disabilities to access skill development in circus and creative expression. The program responds to two identified issues; young people with disabilities lack opportunities for creative physical activities, and young people with disabilities have a lot to offer to the development of contemporary creative practices. The program offered at Westside Circus addresses these issues by ensuring the activities available are accessible to young people with disabilities and those without and providing a vehicle to explore and give voice to the ideas and experiences of participants. The involvement of families and friends in the workshop processes strengthens social connection and builds community and support networks. The presentation of public performance outcomes builds recognition of achievements and develops a greater support in audiences for the art created.

Altitude Moreland is a program that addresses the needs of young people in Moreland experiencing, or at risk of, disengagement from education. It is also an opportunity to bring together young people from a wide variety of backgrounds and address emerging multicultural tensions through a creative process of celebrating difference, finding connections and sharing ideas. Presented in partnership with Glenroy and John Fawkner Colleges, Moreland Youth Services and local community organisations such as the Inner Northern Local Learning & Employment Network (INLLEN) it is an innovative response to the issues raised in the 2014 “Under 16 Report” (developed by the Inner Northern Youth Connections Consortium and INLLEN) which identified a number of serious issues for young people in Moreland such as poor educational outcomes, high youth unemployment and levels of disconnection, reduced health outcomes (in particular mental health) and increased trends in anti-social behaviour.

Altitude Shepparton supports disengaged youth in one of Victoria’s regional hotspots of youth unemployment and school drop-out rates. It is a long term project that brings together Shepparton youth, CALD communities, police, schools, arts and service organisations. The program uses circus activities to support young people in newly arrived and refugee communities who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from education and/or support networks to develop pathways to a positive, active future. Through harnessing the creative potential of a diverse range of young people we aim to inspire disengaged and at-risk youth to build social cohesion and break down the barriers that exist to between CALD communities and legal, education and housing support systems. 

Key Areas of Expenditure

Funds donated will go towards the program deliver of engaging, developing and coordinating the program.

Examples of expense are:

  • $100 hires a bus to pick up a group of young people and bring them to a circus arts workshop at Preston.
  • $200 contributes to a circus kit (a range of equipment) for small groups based in community centres.
  • $300 will provide an underpriviledged young person access to our circus program for a full term.
  • $400 will support maintaining and repairing circus equipment for our access, public, community programs.

A small percentage of funds will go towards Circus Trainer wages and space hire.

Fundraise for this cause

Contact Details

41 Cramer St - Building Q PO Box 516

Are donations tax deductible?


Will I receive a receipt for my donation?

Yes, when Westside Circus Inc is able