Save the No 86 Youth Centre!
Save the No 86 Youth Centre!
No 86 Youth Centre is a beloved walk-in centre for young people (12-25) and provides invaluable service to the community. The workers there are friendly and helpful and talk through problems privately and confidentially with young people - and it's totally free. It's a place to hang out where there's a communal space, a kitchen, computers and internet (which lots of young people don't have access to at home), a piano, a pool table, and most importantly, other young people. They run holiday programs, competitions and events for fun and the benefit of young people, and they also offer resume-building activities like barista workshops with their impressive professional coffee machine.
This is a fantastic place, and the Town of Cambridge wants to shut it down and we have no idea if there will be any replacement service for young people. There are people that believe that walk-in centres are not useful anymore, but the young people who use the youth centre disagree. As a young person who has been apart of the youth centre for 7 years now, no 86 has provided me with so much invaluable support and guidance, and is an incredibly important part of who I am. Alongside the courses I took there, like barista workshops and suicide prevention certifications, I also learned to be more confident in myself, and knew that if things at home got tough or unbearable, there was always somewhere for me to go; someone to talk through everything with. I thought of everyone there as a second family and the centre as a second home. This centre is a safety net to all young people as they can turn to it rather than going through difficult life experiences alone. The youth centre feels like the place that got me through a really tough time, and I know if it continues to stay open, it will help so many more young people.
Many people have used the youth centre as a place for free counselling when they can't afford it, a place to feel comfortable and safe, and to reach PICYS to find themselves a home. The safety of this environment is an incredibly important part of this place for many people - an alternative to difficult home life and a place to escape from the troubles of outside life. Events like music festivals and camps are fun but even more important, young people get to help design and run them and we get invaluable experience and feel like part of things. The town wants to close this irreplaceable service and doesn't seem to understand the value of it for us.
There have been suggestions that the youth centre is not used by many people, and events such as the Open Mic Nights are empty and not popular, when in fact there's often up to forty people there to see young musicians have a go at playing live. Closing of the No 86 Youth Centre is a huge loss to the community and to young people, particularly as there really isn't very many walk-in centres around Perth.
One of the most popular events thrown by the Youth Centre is a music festival called Exposure, all about exposing young bands to live performance and introducing them to people. The town may very well continue this festival if the centre is shut down, but one of the most important things about it is that it is organised and designed by young people, who help select musicians at the Open Mic Nights, organise art competitions linked with the festival, and choose stalls and representatives to come set up at the festival, such as Oscar's Law or the community college.
The Young Writers Competition has been going on for many years and is a successful competition that encourages young people from all age groups (12-25) to submit their pieces that are then published in an anthology of the year's entries. This is also designed and run by young people, and writing and editing workshops and talks with authors are also organised to take place to help young people in their writing endeavours.
Another program run by the youth centre is a "Let's talk about Sex" program run for parents, particularly of teens or preteens that is extremely beneficial to parents and the general community, and the program recently had a turn out of almost 50 people. This program is another example of the importance of the youth centre to our society, as this is not aimed directly at young people, but can help parents deal with the realities of teenage sex and help keep the town's youth safe.
Please help us save our Youth Centre, as it benefits young people all over Perth, but particularly the youth within the Town of Cambridge, and free walk-in centres are important, particularly in today's online-oriented world.