A centre specially geared for young people should be created, according to a new report on youth services in Eltham.
Such a specialised centre could support young people dealing with mental health, education, employment and health issues and could also provide some legal support.
The suggestion is a study recommendation by Mary Wooldridge’s parliamentary intern, Kate Sullivan, who investigated youth engagement in the Eltham electorate and its current and future needs. In her report Ms Sullivan said while Eltham already had a number of excellent youth services, they were fragmented and not as accessible as they should be.
A youth centre where all relevant services were co-located would resolve issues of accessibility and awareness she said. Ideally it would be centrally located and easily accessible by public transport. It would be a place where young people felt comfortable to attend, contain a wide variety of services that addressed their needs, have a local council presence and would include involvement from local schools and tertiary institutions.
Ms Sullivan also said there were a number of serious gaps in the range and breath of services available to address mental health, education and employment issues. Additional mental health services and emergency accommodation in Eltham were also needed, she said.
During her study Ms Sullivan found mental health was consistently raised as the top issue of importance for young people.
“There was a general consensus that there are not enough mental health services for young people available in the Eltham area and those that do exist are not sufficient to meet the needs of the community,” the report stated.
Ms Sullivan also suggested that an online youth directory, linking with other councils and providing information and contact information on relevant services should be considered.
“The report’s suggestion of a youth centre is a worthy recommendation and one that deserves consideration,” Ms Wooldridge said.