Avalon Youth Hub 

Brief

Provide a safe space where services can provide in-kind counselling, casework and mentoring for young people and their families on the northern end of the peninsular. For young people in Pittwater, accessing support services such as counselling, drug and alcohol support, or help with bullying or family violence, used to mean traveling to Brookvale during business hours to try to speak to someone who could help.

In collaboration with key stakeholders and service providers, the Avalon Youth Hub and Outreach Project was launched to provide a range of mental health support services to young people aged 12-25 years old, their families and carers.

Strategy

Develop a community consultation strategy, which involved community members, Northern Beaches youth organisations as well as adhering to councils funding and agreements. Community engagement strategy was designed and refined by recruiting a youth advisory group. 

Our Community engagement strategy incorporated a focus on getting the word out about the Hub and developing a strong digital footprint. We created strong social media channels via facebook and instagram and continue to manage these platforms. We have ensured that the branding, website and booking systems for the hub have been created by young people for young people.

Program management:

GHC developed a project plan with deliverables and milestones that covered community engagement, social media and marketing strategy and grant management

Management of budget and tirlines

Collation of data and interviews

Co-design session development and facilitation

Executive Committee liaison and reporting

Community Engagement

Identified key services for engagement across a wide range of stakeholders including the community, community services, mental health providers to seek feedback on the needs of the community and the capacity to deliver it.

Conducted phone, email and face to face interviews

Collated survey results and compiled analysed reports which guided decision making during the project development process

GHC manages ongoing community engagement through the oversight of the Youth Advisory Committee, Wednesday Outreach at the Hub space, and community events.

Fundraising: Project partners were sought and asked to support the Hub with in-kind services – essentially providing outreach to the community of Avalon from the Hub office right in the centre of town. GHC also managed grant submissions and events.

Implementation: 

– Policies and Procedures, using an adaptive management feedback system for ongoing

– Database development and management

– Site inductions

– Managing team and Executive Committee meetings, minuting and distributing to all partners

– Referral service, youth liaison and Barrenjoey High wellbeing support

Results

New partnerships continue to develop and the Hub can now offer 9 services from the initial 6.

Increased the service area to Newport with a view to moving further down peninsular to Mona Vale.

Online counselling booking system has strong takeup and was developed in collaboration with the Youth Advisory Group.

Workshops and group sessions have been taken up with 2 meditation sessions and 2 psycho-educational workshops each week.

The Youth Advisory Group continues to grow and provide feedback on Hub services and engagement, and applies for funding for youth led initiatives with GHC support and advice.

School Workshops happen regularly in local high schools.

One on one sessions have increased with each month, with 2 counsellors fully booked on Mondays and Thursday afternoons.

Wednesday outreach now happens both in Avalon and at Newport surf club with over 250 young people attending these afternoons. Wednesday outreach is a soft entry point for many young people to access services and referrals are taken each week.

Continual workshopping and improvement of our systems.

Strong brand, well known among young people as a safe, non-threatening space

We are extremely proud of this project. It has been an honour to see the community flourish and to watch young people transformed by access to youth friendly faces that support them to link directly to services.