Renewed enthusiasm and belief in Albany Youth Foyer concept after national conference
The group pushing for a multimillion-dollar accommodation facility for at-risk youth in Albany has returned from a national conference with renewed enthusiasm and belief in the project.
Albany Youth Support Association chief executive Ian Clarke led a six-person Albany contingent to Queensland for the National Foyer Conference last week.
He said everyone in the group came away from the two-day event with a better grasp of what it would take to set up an Albany Youth Foyer.
“It was about getting a greater understanding of the benefits as well as the research data that is available to help support them,” Mr Clarke said.
“When you are consistently seeing an 80 per cent success rate nationally with young people staying there anywhere between 14-18 months, it’s a pretty overwhelming recipe for success.”
Mr Clarke was joined at the conference by Advance Housing chief executive John Lysaught, City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington, Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens, AYSA services manager Bradley Ward, and H&H Architects director Julie De Jong.
AYSA is looking to establish a multi-use building in Albany that could accommodate 80 beds to help those aged 15-25.
It would feature independent unit-style accommodation, culturally sensitive units and the capacity to accommodate young parents with a child up to five years old.
Mr Clarke said the group had the opportunity to speak to youth ambassadors who had told them foyers had “completely changed their lives”.
“They see themselves as having a future now, they see themselves as being valued as a young person within the community,” he said.
“I think a lot of people who are facing difficult circumstances can often feel they’ve been forgotten.
“Facilities like these can provide opportunities in a very structured way.”
Mr Clarke said a key part of the trip was a workshop with the consultants AYSA had engaged for the Albany project’s business case.
“We spent over half a day with them working on what our local concept is to build that business case,” he said.
“It was beneficial to all, but it was a great opportunity for Julie as an architect that works extensively across WA. She’s already well down the path in her mind about the sort of things we could do.”
A visit to Foyer Oxford in Leederville — WA’s only Youth Foyer — will be the next step in the planning process for the Albany group.
Mr Clarke said the Leederville trip would give “other key players from our organisations” a chance to experience the foyer concept and speak to youth ambassadors.
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