See you at ARVOs

LUCRF Super partners with Youth, Family and Community Connections to help Tassie kids

In an area of intergenerational unemployment, poverty and welfare dependency, one group is making a difference one afternoon at a time.

Hosted one afternoon a week, Youth, Family and Community Connections’ “ARVOs at the Junction” is a free weekly afternoon program for kids 12 – 18 in Devonport and Burnie, Tasmania.

Announcing a two-year partnership with the organisation, LUCRF Super Chief Executive Officer Charlie Donnelly said the industry super fund is looking forward to working with YFCC over the coming years.

“It’s important that kids – especially at this age – have a place they can go where they feel safe and supported. That’s why we have partnered with YFCC through our Community Program,” said Mr Donnelly.

“We look forward to working with Graham [YFCC Operations Manager], Nick [YFCC Chair] and the wider YFCC team over the coming two years and seeing how we can support the program to reach further into the community.”

Graham Marshall, Nick Sherry and Graham Marshall at the YFCC launchYFCC Operations Manager Graham Marshall, YFCC Chair Nick Sherry and LUCRF Super BDM Brad Dobson  at the YFCC launch

The ARVOs Program provides a safe and supportive environment for kids and their families, giving them a place to hang out, grow and connect.

Since 2015 the program has seen many young people walk through its doors, with 935 last year and 15-20 kids visiting the hubs on average each week.

YFCC Operations Manager Graham Marshall said "It’s often a combination of issues that led to teenagers feeling isolated and despondent, which can impact them in dangerous ways.

“It’s not just teens getting up to no good on the streets. There is a lack of services – and jobs – in the area. Add in trouble at school or home to the already difficult time of being a teen – with peer pressure and still working out who you are – and it can lead to more serious impacts such as self-harm or taking their own life,” said Mr Marshall.

Mr Marshall explained that sometimes something as simple as having someone to talk to can make a big difference.

“Our aim is to give teens a place to go that they feel welcome. That they know they can come to for help, support, and also get to know local services that could help them. They aren’t alone, and that’s why we exist.”

Each year YFCC help almost 200 youths in the local area and has more than 3,000 clients in Tasmania. A key component to the program is to build rapport and positive relationships between social workers and local families.

“Building this relationship in a casual and safe environment helps the kids see that they are here to help. That way they can help and give referrals for further support, and they know it’s coming from a good place.”

Initially self-funded, the LUCRF Super Community Program grant will provide additional financial support to grow and reach more local youths, maximising opportunities for young people on the north-west coast of Tasmania.