Healthy Harold saved from funding cut

BELOVED health advocate Healthy Harold, a favourite with school children across the country, might have escaped the chop.

Life Education Australia, which runs health education programs for school students across the country, expressed concerns it’s operations would be hit after its funding was cut in this year’s federal budget. 

But a barrage of Twitter support for the puppet giraffe seems to have swayed the government into a backflip last night with Education Minister Simon Birmingham tweeting last night: “We support #HealthyHarold & will work with Life Education Australia to ensure the funding & the program continues."

The Turnbull Government confirmed on Tuesday in parliament there was no further funding for Harold, who is the face of a program teaching children about the dangers of taking drugs and eating unhealthy food.

A federal funding agreement for Life Education Australia which runs the program ends on June 30 and was not renewed in the May budget.

Ballarat MP and opposition health spokesperson Catherine King was quick to lead the charge to save Harold, also predominently on Twitter.

“Having just defunded #HealthyHarold the govt says will work with them to find funding #what the?????!” Ms King tweeted.

Ms King told BuzzFeed News the initial chop was a shock to Life Education and children across Australia and later said it was no wonder so many people had responded trying to save the program.

Harold has been a popular figure in the Ballarat community, taking part in Rotary rides and the Begonia Parade.

Life Education said it would have run education programs for about 720,000 students by the end of June.

The organisation’s programs are funded by private donors as well as federal and state governments.

The Education Department had earlier stated the organisation had agreed to become self-sufficient by July 1.