Consultation is Key!

Setting up a Youth Hub can be daunting task. Especially when a small community such as Avalon is so greatly in need of support from community services. In light of recent tragedies, which saw 3 young men commit suicide, and all being a student or former student of Barrenjoey High, you can’t help but be heart-broken for the Avalon community and their loss.

Supporting communities is at the heart of everything we do at Goodwill Hunting Co., so when we were asked to come on board to help launch a Youth Hub, we jumped at the opportunity.

Goodwill Hunting Co. was engaged by Justene Gordon, CEO of the Burdekin Association, and an Executive Committee comprised of key stakeholders, to turn an idea into reality. We firstly developed a tailor-made project plan and then turned immediately to consulting with the community, key community services, as well as similar hubs across NSW which included site visits and most importantly young people!

Consultation is the key to getting stakeholders on board with such a large project. This stage can also present some challenges as it is essential that needs are married with expectations and we manage what is realistically feasible to deliver. Inspired by the successes of other Hubs in the NSW region, we maintained focus on the key question of “are young people in the community going to be better off?” If the answer was ‘yes’ we moved forward to get the outcomes we needed.

Months of consultation produced a quorum of key partners who had the capacity to offer regular support in the Avalon community. Fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation for our amazing team was so important. Transparency, ongoing communication and clearly defined roles are crucial for ongoing success. Without these founding key services on board we wouldn’t have a Youth Hub.

Avalon Youth Hub Now Open Mondays 12-5 and Wednesdays / Thursdays 3-5

We developed an Operations Manual and accompanying policies and procedures, which were adapted from other youth hubs and services around NSW. Our mantra was, “if it works, why reinvent the wheel?”. There are so many incredible organisations out there doing great work. We built on the impressive library of shared knowledge from so many passionate and dedicated services and tailored it to suit the needs of the local Northern Beaches community.

My role as Community Engagement Manager is of paramount importance to a new service. Reaching out to young people and their families, businesses, schools, sporting groups and others is essential to starting to provide help and support to those who need it.

True community engagement allows the community and young people to have a voice, provides feedback to the service around what needs to happen next and helps advise us on how to reach the most at-risk youth. The service needs to embed its self entirely into the community, be part of the furniture! It needs to be a space everyone knows and wants to support.

A huge thank you to the incredible team who made this all possible, and to the community for your honesty and support.

We are currently open Mondays 12-5 and Wednesdays / Thursdays 3-5. Stay tuned for more services and opening times.

To talk to me, drop me a line on laura@goodwillhuntingco.com.au

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