Strong demand drives group

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
Ricky Burges, Shandell Cummings, Tosh Wigley, rear, Sacha Errington and Gemma Bennett.
Camera IconRicky Burges, Shandell Cummings, Tosh Wigley, rear, Sacha Errington and Gemma Bennett. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

The Albany Youth Support Association is on the move because of the rapid growth of the youth support school it helped set up.

AYSA provides outreach and support services to homeless young people and those at risk of becoming homeless between the ages of 12 and 25.

Those services range from an arts program to crisis accommodation. The outreach arm of AYSA’s programs, known as Open Access, will be moving from Prior Street.

Last year, AYSA helped Youth Futures establish a Comet Care School, designed for young people who find it difficult to fit into traditional school programs, in its Albany building.

The unexpectedly fast growth of student enrolments at Comet in the past six months has meant the building is too small to accommodate both organisations.

“AYSA and Youth Futures has enjoyed a strong, vibrant relationship over the past year,” AYSA chief executive Ricky Burges said.

“Comet has grown so much since they started in Albany, so as the smaller group in the Prior Street premises, we felt practically it was the best move for us to shift to a new building.”

Ms Burges said the organisations would continue to work together and the move would not interrupt their services in any way.

“We will still work collaboratively to provide a network of support to young people who need supportive school environment, and in many cases, being connected to a youth worker who can work with the young person and their family,” she said. Comet Care School director Mark Waite said he was excited by the school’s growth.

“AYSA have been gracious by being willing to move and we’re looking forward to continuing our close working relationship with them from their new home,” he said.

AYSA is searching for a new premises and is planning to move before term two.

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