CBD youth precinct to take early intervention to new heights
An old warehouse in the Townsville CBD will be transformed into a vibrant youth precinct which will become home to programs to distract and divert local youth from crime, thanks to federal funding secured by Herbert MP Phillip Thompson.
YWAM Townsville will receive $778,500 under the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) to build the multi-purpose youth precinct, which will include an adventure-based learning high ropes course, multi-purpose space and café.
The facility on the corner of Walker and Blackwood Streets will be used to offer vocational training and skills for job readiness, as well as partner with key stakeholders to assist with preventative, intervention and rehabilitation programs for youth, helping to address North Queensland’s youth crime, youth disengagement and youth suicide issues.
Mr Thompson said as soon as he saw YWAM’s vision for the project he knew it would be transformational for the city.
“We know some of the main contributing factors to the youth crime crisis we face in Townsville are disengagement and often just boredom,” he said.
“The Youth Precinct will provide not only a fun place for youth to come and challenge themselves both mentally and physically with the high ropes course, but to also learn some skills to help them into employment and engage with early intervention programs.
“That’s really the key to this project – attracting young people with a fun place to relax with their mates and try something new, while having teams on-site looking out for their wellbeing and making sure they’re not falling in with the wrong crowd.
“The more we can engage our youth in a positive way, the less we’re going to see some of the negative social issues our city has unfortunately been facing for far too long.
“YWAM already does an amazing job in our community so I have absolutely no doubt this project will deliver on its vision. I couldn’t be more happy to have helped secure this funding for such an important initiative.”
YWAM director Ken Mulligan said the funding would help the project get off the ground soon.
“We are absolutely thrilled about this investment into quality infrastructure for young people and our community. This will fill a great need in the community,” he said.
“This is a space we have been planning and working on for a number of years, but to have a boost like this means that we can work to be engaging young people there by late next year.
“The past 18 months have highlighted the tremendous needs in our local young people more than ever, so we are very grateful to have this space to help develop leadership and skills in many, many young people, and of course work across every sector of youth engagement to help connect with those who are very disadvantaged.
“We are really hopeful about what this will offer our community.”
YWAM hopes to have young people accessing the facility in the second half of next year.