Youth service reaches out with new initiatives

Article image - Youth service reaches out with new initiatives Banyule’s Youth Services team has adapted to support young people online with a range of new programs. Photo taken prior to COVID-19.

In response to COVID-19, the Youth Services team at Banyule City Council, Victoria, adapted their work in supporting young people, not only continuing to provide all the previously offered programs in an online space, but also undertaking a range of new successful initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of young people.  

A focus on connection and resilience-building underpinned all the team’s work during this period. 

Engaging over 2700 young people, youth organisations and schools in the online events and workshops during this time, they are currently delivering eight programs a week online via Zoom.  

The service has seen steady growth in support provision, including individual support for young people and workshops for parents/carers, school staff and young people. 

Successes include the introduction of an eight week wellbeing program for young people ‘Being well’ which delivers standalone weekly workshops focusing on practical skills to increase wellbeing. 

Sessions cover food and mood, bullet journaling, Zen your bedroom, mindfulness and more. Music and storytelling have also been effectively used to connect young people online. 

A new initiative ‘Noteworthy’ celebrating the stories of young people has been created, allowing positive profiling of young people to occur and topical issues to be addressed as well as young people having an opportunity to learn skills developing a podcast. 

A youth worker is present in all activities delivered so that young people can have a chat about how they are going and be linked in with further support or information.  

Programs offered range from hip hop and street art, events, art, entrepreneurs, wellbeing and LGBTIQ+ advocacy.

Another new initiative during COVID-19 has been the Banyule Youth Portal - Keeping connected from home, an initiative to support young people and their families through Melbourne’s pandemic restrictions.  

The Portal, an addition to the Banyule Youth website includes a range of resources, things to do online, advice, support options, free links and downloads. It offers pages for young people, their parents and families as well as local schools.  

The resource has received great acclaim from the Banyule community.