Another vital community service has just launched in Bowraville.
Wesley Mission officially opened its new Youth Accommodation Service and the new ParentsNext program offices at 106 High Street Bowraville.
In opening the offices, Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Keith Garner said it was timely that both services were brought together in the heart of the community.
“This will not only strengthen families but build capacity to meet the many complex challenges facing the community,” Mr Garner said.
“Bringing together these two services under one roof will signal a new chapter in integrated support: it will strengthen community infrastructure and allow participants in each program access to other Wesley services.”
Wesley Mission has provided homelessness and youth services in the Nambucca Valley region for many years, and has previously delivered employment services.
“During this time we have learnt much from the people of Bowraville,” Mr Garner said.
Wesley Youth Accommodation Services has been operating in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca Valley areas for four years and for two years in Bowraville. During the past year it has supported more than 100 young people from the region.
ParentNext is a free Commonwealth Government funded program which helps parents to get back into work.
Wesley Mission has been successfully operating the program at two locations in Sydney and on the Central Coast with encouraging results. The Commonwealth Department of Jobs and Small Business funds the ParentsNext program. Wesley Mission was successful in tendering for the delivery of the ParentsNext program at 29 locations across NSW including Bowraville and Coffs Harbour.
The program operates from Bowraville two days per week making it accessible to parents living in the Nambucca Valley and surrounding areas.
So far referrals have come from Bowraville, Barraganyatti, Macksville and Talarm. Wesley Mission also has a ParentsNext office in Coffs Harbour.
“We are already seeing parents taking steps towards their employment and education goals,” Mr Garner said.
“These are measured through an online work readiness tool, and participants completing accredited training courses and 12 weeks of continuous employment.
“It is a great encouragement when we see participants feeling confident and empowered to take positive steps towards completing further education and achieving significant employment.”
Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker said both services were important to the community.
“There’s nothing more important than a job,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Employment empowers people to participate in the community; it fulfils their self-worth and cannot be underestimated.
“It is so much more than money. Just like homelessness it is so much more than just bricks and mortar. It is a much more complicated issue.
“I commend the work of Wesley Mission in providing accommodation for young people because if they don’t have a place to stay, if they don’t have a stable base they are never going to hold down a job or go to school.”
In opening the offices Aunty Ann Edwards welcomed guests to country while Deputy Mayor of Nambucca Shire Cr Martin Ballangarry led the official smoking and cleansing ceremony.