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Centre to expand services, youth support

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Lake Macquarie’s Centre for Hope plans to expand its services and help more youth in the community thanks to a new grant.

The organisation received more than $280,000 from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Centre for Hope Chief Executive, Geraldine Moran, said the funds would allow the group to further support youth in Windale.

“We are really excited to support the Windale area and this funding means we are able to provide an extension to our existing services,” she said.

“In addition to expanding our current services supporting young people, this grant will allow us to engage ITEC Youth, a division of ITEC Group Australia, who will employ a part-time case worker, which will add another element to our current operations.

“We will also be expanding our current services to best support young people.

“This is a space where young people can just drop in, a soft entry to link with other services and explore opportunities to engage with their community in a positive way.”

Centre for Hope, which formed a decade ago, has been working within the Windale community for the past five years.

Based around a coaching and mentoring model, the centre delivers in-school and wellbeing programs along with skill-building workshops and social activities.

It also helps to showcase the talent, resilience and stories of young people through things like street art and collective gatherings.

“We support over 300 young people per week through our school programs alone and receive around 90% positive feedback, which is something we are really proud of,” Ms Moran said.

“Young people are able to develop a coach or mentor relationship, giving them a person to run ideas by and an opportunity for strategic ideas to emerge and take shape.

“They learn to develop trust and their mentors encourage them to reach their full potential.”

Ms Moran added that, with ITEC Youth, the groups will continue to take a participatory approach and will look to youth for feedback to learn what they want and need.

“There are a lot of services out there, but we want to get to know what is really missing and to try and fill the gaps.”

Ms Moran believed the funding would allow the organisations to create something different for youth that could grow from Windale.

“The work increases community safety, encourages young people to take ownership of their neighbourhoods and, in turn, find community support,” she said.

Centre for Hope received this grant as part of the Stronger Country Communities Fund.

For more information about the service, visit its website.

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