It’s been a while since we updated our official website, and that’s because we’ve been going through a few changes these last few months to better manage our ever increasing workload.
Since the funding cuts of 2012 there is now a lot less money in the community sector than there has been in decades. Many organisations have been forced to cut staff, reduce operating hours and worse. Each youth centre and neighbourhood centre has had to find different ways to do their business to make sure their clients don’t suffer and we’re no different.
Sadly, less money in the sector doesn’t mean less need – and this year we’ve seen an explosion in need which has blown our stats out of the water – so everyone is doing more work with less resources. Makes life interesting! :o)
To make our extra work load more manageable and our refusal to reduce our level of support more sustainable, we’re had to knuckle down and create Youth Space V.2! We began that lengthy process in January of this year and we’re now rolling those changes out.
To counter the reduction in staff we’ve suffered, we’ve taken on more student placements and kept our Youth Ambassador program running.
What’s all that? Well… Student placements are people in their final year of either their Youth Work Diploma, Social Work Degree, Education Degree or Psychology Degree. We only accept final year students as they all have everything they need to work with young people in crisis.
Youth Ambassadors are a bit of a risk, but one that’s worth taking if we’re going to walk our talk and give young people opportunities to grow and change and do better in life. Youth Ambassadors are a group of young people who are going through a particularly rough time but who have leadership qualities and skills that we feel we can nurture. Taking on a Youth Ambassador is always tricky and we’ve certainly got some flack over it, but at the same time that opportunity has saved a couple of lives and changed a handful of lives for the better and so we remain committed to doing it. :o)
So, what are these changes?
First off, our hours of operation still haven’t changed. They’re still:
– Monday 8:30am to 5pm
– Tuesday 8:30am to 5pm
– Wednesday 8:30am to late (usually 9 or 10pm or whenever the legal service wraps up)
– Thursday 8:30am to 5pm
– Friday $8:30am to 5pm.
BUT! There’s always a but. :o) Of a morning we now have a daily staff meeting from 8:30am to 9:30am so we won’t be able to take phone calls at that time. That might seem a little extreme to some people, as staff meetings at most places usually happen weekly or fortnightly, but the nature of the issues we’re seeing in our young people and their families is so extreme, and escalating so rapidly, that as a team we need to carefully plan and risk manage each day to make sure our clients get the most out of us and to make sure we all know our movements, appointments, and all of that stuff. If you are DESPERATE to contact us during that time, I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave a message or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Most emergency cases and relevant stakeholders have our individual staff mobile numbers and can use them if need be.
The Youth Space is no longer taking volunteers because of the disruption this has caused to our clients. In most cases, volunteers know the young people in our community in one way or another, or they know their families. This creates the potential for breaches in confidentiality. We can’t risk this happening, so, to protect our clients, we’ve had to cease our volunteer program. We apologise for this, because we really value volunteers and their contributions, however we’ve had to do it across the board to ensure client privacy is upheld.
The Youth Space has brought on a music therapist and a teacher to work in our Checkpoint Flexible Education Program to better enhance the educational outcomes of participants. Kassie is our music therapist, she has her masters in Music Therapy and is pretty damn amazing. Lexie is our teacher and has her Bachelor of Education specialising in flexible learning strategies. Both women are amazing are are really gelling with the young people in Checkpoint.
Lastly, we’re in the middle of some basic cosmetic changes to the layout of our building. Our Social Enterprise and drop-in will be moving to the front of the building to join our reception area and our staff will be moving to what we call the “core”. The core is at the centre of the building. It’s where our CEO is located, our specialised counselling room is situated, and where the entire team will now hunker down to do all their paper work when they’re not on drop in duty.
All of these changes are happening so that we can better serve those who come to us in need. In looking over the last nine years this team has been together, and balancing what we used to do with everything that has happened in the sector and everything we’ve learned as we’ve grown as an organisation, we believe this is going to make things easier for everyone.
We’re pretty excited by it all.
Before we sign off on this update, there’s one final thing we need to mention. Our organisation is a youth centre. We run programs throughout the day and we also provide a drop in for young people. That’s our primary purpose. As well as working with children and teenagers we also work with their families which is something we’ve kind of grown into because parents have asked us for that level of support. That’s all pretty busy work, and it’s our number one priority. Young people and their families are welcome to drop in and see us at any time without an appointment, but we’d like to ask that any professional that visits our organisation to call for an appointment first. Literally every week, and some times two or three times a week, we’ve been visited by one RTO or another this year and only two of them have ever asked us if we have the time see them. We love hearing about new options for young people, and we also love professional courtesy and people ringing ahead to request an appointment instead of just showing up. Any unscheduled interruptions to our day interrrupts sometimes vital work we’re doing with young people. It’s really easy to make an appointment with us. We don’t have many hoops to jump through, you just call us or e-mail us: 3283 8769 or email@example.com. :o)