THE push for a Youth Hub in Wonthaggi continues, with the working group for the project patiently waiting to have funding approved by the Department Health and Human Services.
The old CFA building on Watt Street has been earmarked as the perfect location for a youth hub, with a multipurpose area in the front, three offices, a kitchen, a meeting room, easily adaptable showers and toilets, shedding and outdoor areas and many walls for creating art.
Youth Hub Working Group member Penny Mitchell said if the Department of Health and Human Services comes up with the funding, there will be a lot of pressure on the Bass Coast Shire Council to provide the building.
“Council owns the building and it’s not used at the moment so it’s a real waste of a community asset,” she said.
“It’s a great building and it can be used for four main things. A drop in space, where young people can feel comfortable to come and sit on some couches, hang out in as safe space, with free Wi-Fi, musical instruments available, structured activities like music lessons, computer fixing lessons – anything that young people want.
“There are a lot volunteers in the community who have been talking to us and saying they can run groups.
“The other main thing is providing some services where there’d be service providers from other organisations who would come and spend an afternoon or a couple of mornings a week, like counselling, mental health services, sexual health, legal advice, financial counselling and relationship counselling.
“Down the track we want to develop a social enterprise. It would be great to have a commercial kitchen where young people who have done hospitality or training at VCAL could get some supported work experience and work their way up to a paid job.”
Penny met with Bunurong candidate Jessica Harrison, Bass Coast YMCA’s Bec Wilson, VCAL teacher Tom Murray-White and local youths to discuss the potential youth hub last week.
Josh Blum, 16, was one of the young people at the meeting, and believes a youth hub is much-needed.
“I didn’t have a place to go to and have anyone to reach out to, so I ended up reaching out to the wrong person and losing who and what I was,” he said.
“If I had a place like this to go to, then maybe I wouldn’t have gone down that path. Maybe I would’ve found people who look out for you who actually care about you instead of going on the streets.”
Starting this Wednesday, October 12, the Harvest Centre/Mitchell House Youth Space will be open every Wednesday from 4pm to 7pm at the Harvest Centre.
All young people are welcome to drop in.