Minister launches Coast Community Connections Youth Program

Minister for Multiculturalism The Hon. Ray Williams MP today visited Coast Community Connections’ Evolution Youth Services to launch a special program funded by the NSW Government’s Youth Opportunities Program.

The Youth Opportunities Program provides grants to organisations to deliver youth-led and youth-driven community projects that have a positive development focus on the community.

Minister Williams officially launched the not for profit organisation’s new Teen Mental Health First Aid Training Project, which will see the introduction of a program for years 10, 11 and 12 students to support them to recognise the signs of mental health problems.

Coast Community Connections was successful under the 2016 Youth Opportunities Program funding and developed this project as a result of a survey completed by 700 local young people, in which 80 per cent recognised the need for improved information on mental health issues.

Minister Williams said that the NSW Government encourages organisations and community groups to develop projects aimed at empowering and increasing the confidence of young people, which is a key focus of this program to be delivered by Evolution Youth Services.

“I was thrilled to launch the Teen Mental Health First Aid Training Project which will arm young people on the Central Coast with important tools to develop and strengthen skills to live a positive life,” explained Mr Williams.

“It is vitally important to ensure young people have the best opportunities in life as it means our communities will be stronger and more vibrant for it,” added Mr Williams.

Representing the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Minister Williams was joined by Ms Sharryn Brownlee, President of Coast Community Connections and Ms Jenni Allan, Acting Chief Executive Officer who accepted the $20,000 grant to fund this project.

“Our Evolution Youth Services team will be facilitating a number of sessions with young people in the local community to help them understand the signs of poor mental health including depression, anxiety, psychosis and eating disorders,” explained Coast Community Connections Acting Chief Executive Officer, Jenni Allan.

“The rollout of the Teen Mental Health First Aid Project will be delivered through three 75 minute sessions and will also provide information and tools to assist young people to better recognise and detect signs of mental health crisis, touching on issues such as suicide, aggressive behaviour, self-injury, trauma and substance abuse,” said Ms Allan.

Coast Community Connections has planned this special program with the aim of engaging young people in this specific age group and the sessions will be conducted by teen and youth MHFA trained instructors.

Since the Youth Opportunities Program launched in 2012 more than $6 million has been injected into more than 85 youth development projects within the state.

“The highly-successful Youth Opportunities program will make a positive difference to the lives of many young people in NSW,” added Mr Williams.

In addition to launching this youth program today, Mr Williams, under his separate role as Minister for Disability Services, also took the opportunity to take a tour of Coast Community Connections Ageing and Disability Services located in the Yaringaa building at Woy Woy.



Photo above from left to right:

The Hon. Ray Williams MP, Minister for Multiculturalism
NSW Liberal Candidate for Gosford, Jilly Pilon
Coast Community Connections Evolution Youth Services young person, Kaylla Grant- Paciano

Coast Community Connections Evolution Youth Services young person, Kayley Prpic