Funding and collaborative support ensures the Youthie has a future

Nambucca Youthie getting into the online groove

For 20 years the Nambucca Youthie (Nambucca Valley Youth Services Centre) has been there for the valley's young people, offering a safe place to hang out, a friendly ear to listen, as well as a space where through workshops and courses, new skills are learnt.

Operating on a shoestring budget with much-needed injections of funds from grant and/or philanthropic sources from time to time, it's existence has never felt overly secure.

But things are shifting ... thanks to the Investing in Rural Community Futures Program (IRCF), an initiative whereby the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) have partnered with three NSW communities in NSW to provide support from 2018 until 2023 for locally governed Not-for-Profits (NFPs).

Nambucca Valley is one of the three, along with Junee and Leeton. Assistance includes access to grant funding, planning and facilitation assistance, skill development and experience sharing.

One recently funded project is a $41,990 grant to help the Youthie raise its 'marketing and business profile' ... which simply put, means building a website that shows the world the excellent work this little never-say-die not-for-profit does!

Long-time board member, Deirdre Bear, said it was exciting to finally have the means of "being known for what we do".

"Having a good website will mean we can link people to the programs we have developed here, such as Project X, as well as linking them to information about local services that can help with housing or mental health or whatever they need," Deidre said.

"Something like this is designed to have a lasting impact because we are also hoping to train local young people in the marketing, IT and social media skills to keep it running."

Youthie coordinator Chantelle Dimaano said up until now the organisation had been outsourcing its website maintenance and social media profile.

"With the help of IRCF, we realise we can do better by building the skills here for ourselves and then sharing the results," Chantelle said.

"It means training, which means jobs in the future for our young people."

IRCF local facilitator Nancy Sposato said the funds were part of a $950,000 pool for Nambucca Valley projects to help local not-for-profits 'build their capacity' in such a way that they have a future.

"The IRCF program is all about a new way of supporting communities - by tailoring programs to the specific needs of local NFPs," Nancy said.

"We meet with the groups and try to get right to the heart of what they need, help them understand where their weaknesses are and then work out how we can change that.

"We also bring the different community groups together so they can talk to each other and work on collaborative solutions.

"It's a three year program that addresses many issues that NFPs face.

"From the beginning we look at addressing some of the organisations major challenges so we can make sure the foundations we build are strong, ensuring a future beyond these three years with, hopefully, solid philanthropic support."

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