Here’s a good news story that keeps getting better – the Bellingen Youth Hub’s success in the Valley – not just for the Shire’s youth but also for a variety of community groups too.
At this month’s council meeting, the Hub’s stellar coordinator Dean Besley told councillors why.
“The building of the climbing wall has been made a huge impact,” Dean said.
“There are new faces, new kids – both high and primary aged students, and new volunteers. This project was a partnership between different community groups … to get good things done. And this relationship is getting stronger.
“After five years, the trust levels in the community continues to grow. We have more youth more diversity, more services, more community better relations – this extends to the police.
“The overall impact on the community is there being more families, who want to talk with and about young people.”
Dean said the perhaps the most important shift of late has been in culture – as in us, the community, “the centre is engaged”.
“This means we have better working relationships better,” he said.
“We deal with the hardest issues – homelessness suicide and drugs – these are difficult, but real issues that the valley has and the Hub is central in bringing groups and facilities around problems to help find a way forward.
“Family crisis, domestic violence and the range of issues … people need critical services – youth workers, police, doctors, psychologists, counsellors etc – to bring the family into engagement with us at the youth centre.
“Essentially we are brokering the various groups and to do this ... the level of trust is high.
“I think that is the main shift – we are a client-centered service and anecdotally this is paying big dividends for the both individuals, families and the community.”
Deans said that looking into the future there may be a need to expand services.
Councillor Jennie Fenton replied to Dean’s comments to council by saying “your reputation in the community is remarkable”.