The Humpybong Youth Space Steering Group was created by the former Redcliffe City Council and a group of Redcliffe citizens who were concerned about the welfare of young people in Redcliffe. They wanted to survey Redcliffians and see whether or not a youth centre was needed on the peninsula. The response was a resounding yes!
The group then set to work figuring out how this could happen, how much it would cost, and what this soon to be created youth centre would do.
The groups initial vision was to bring together a bunch of services that helped young people and give them a building to operate out of. It was hoped other youth services and agencies that work with young people would outreach into the building in Redcliffe, giving young people a one stop shop for all of their support needs.
It was a fantastic vision, but it didn’t quite work out the way people had hoped. That steering group, which became the organisation’s first Management Committee, did not give up though. Redcliffe needed a place that was exclusively for young people and if one idea did not work, there were plenty more where that original idea came from! But more about that below.
The Youth Space building started construction in 2001 and while that was happening time the Humpybong Youth Space Interim Management Committee was formed.
The Committee was responsible for working out how the Youth Space would be managed, and what its relationship to Council would be.
The most interesting thing about the process of building the facility and structuring its Management Committee, was that young people were a part of every step – they even BUILT the facility under the guidance of professional construction workers. Yep, a group of Community Jobs Plan participants between the ages of 15 and 25 were employed to lay the foundations and build the entire facilities first stage – which was two meeting and training rooms, two small office spaces, an industrial kitchen and cafe area and small outdoor stage.
While one group of young people constructed the building, another group became a vital part of building the organistion’s Management Committee. It was vitally important to Council that young people be the driving force behind the facility and they wanted to make sure youth input was the primary input.
At this time, a peninsula wide competition targeting young people was held to design a logo for the new youth centre.
The Committee incorporated in July of 2002 to form the existing Redcliffe Area Youth Space Management Committee Incorporated (RAYSMC). The Management Committee looks out for the strategic direction of the Space and helps influence the direction of youth service provision in our areas of operation which are Redcliffe and North Lakes.
The Committee is volunteer, and they employ a Chief Executive Officer and a staff team to do the work for them while they support the CEO and staff to make the best decisions possible for young people.
The Youth Space was designed to be built in three stages, because of the costs associated with building a brand new facility and stage one served the community really well and definitely proved there was a need for a youth specific service in Redcliffe. That need was so great, Council realised they needed to organise stage two as soon as possible – and maybe even roll stages two and three together so there was enough space for all of the young people needing support.
A lot of this preliminary work to prove the need for a larger Youth Space was thanks to two remarkable women, Ms Marg Miller and Miss Iona Fitzgerald. These women guided the first three years of the Youth Space’s development and helped shape the first part of the organisations history.
Redcliffe City Council injected $750,000 into the completion of the Youth Space, and the State Government injected $215,000 to make up the amounts needed to complete both stage two and three in one big massive six month construction program!
On the 5th of September 2005 construction began on stages two and three, and in early August, just before the construction of stages two and three began, the organisation hired it’s first full time Manager to restructure the organisation and turn it from a youth centre into a youth service provider. Mr Jarryd Williams came on board and oversaw both the construction phases of stage two and three and the entire rejig of the organisation as it shifted its focus in response to local need from a facility that provided some events and education and training programs to a facility that would continue this work but incorporate crime prevention, social welfare support, counselling support and a flexi-school into its operations.
Since taking charge of the organisation as it’s first Manager, Jarryd has helped the Youth Space become a multiple award winning youth service provider with a reputation for excellence and innovation, and the organisation has had some of its programs (written by Jarryd) duplicated around Australia and overseas. In recognition of his service and the success of his leadership, Jarryd was eventually promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer – a role created for him by the Management Committee to better reflect his role as the guiding force behind developing responses to youth issues across two local communities and supporting many other communities around Australia in a consultancy position.
The rest of our history is unwritten, but from 2005 to the time of this writing the Youth Space has weathered many storms and overcome many obstacles in its work to support the most disadvantaged and marginalised young people in its communities of influence.
We owe a great debt of thanks to many people, starting with the former Redcliffe City Council, the current Moreton Bay Regional Council, the State Government of Queensland and the Commonwealth of Australia. Most of all, however, our deepest thanks goes to you – the people and young people of Redcliffe for supporting us and all of our crazy ideas!
Here’s to an even brighter future for the Youth Space as it continues to find new and exciting ways to help young people who are at risk.