By Jack Delfs
As Australia marks Mental Health Week, the focus is not only on big picture issues but also the important community level initiatives to help people in difficulty.
Swan City Youth Service on Morrison Road in Midland provides a safe space for young people to relax and socialise as well as providing assistance to young people with homelessness, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and in completing educational programs.
Running an outreach program alongside Polytechnic West, Swan City Youth Service is able to assist people in completing their Certificate Two in General Education and other TAFE courses.
Youth Worker Nikki Montgomery believes their educational and life skill programs work so well due to the centre’s ability to accommodate the individual to make sure they reach their goals.
“[The programs are] really flexible so if that a young person has got some issues on the day or just not in the right head space to come and study they can still come in and talk to the youth workers to make sure they’re still meeting their education requirements,” said Nikki.
Swan City Youth Service has been running for 28 years as a non-profit group so funding and support can often be limited but what the centre achieves with what they have is incredible.
With a weekly graffiti art program, a freely available music studio and a large rec room for young people, the centre also acts as a safe space to hang out and seek help from those who know how to provide it.
Graham Cox, who has been with Swan City for 20 years, says by allowing young people to get involved in planning the direction of the programs themselves they are given ownership and want to be more involved.
Mr Cox says it’s always essential to ask young people what programs they want.
“If they don’t participate that program might be put in the bin. We got to get them involved early so if they want the program then they will participate in it.
“This is their place. It’s theirs. Not ours, we just work here…It’s all for them,” said Mr Cox.
Swan City Youth Service is open from 9am Mondays and from 10am Tuesday to Thursday.