Renewal of Youth Services workshops were held in February and March 2015 in conjunction with QCOSS and the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).

The workshops provided an opportunity for youth service providers and their stakeholders to engage, collaborate and explore new ways of working with and for young people.

Tania Leeson, Youth Development Officer at Sarina Youth Centre and Nikki Hughes, Youth Development Officer, Mackay Regional Council attended the Mackay workshop. In this podcast they discuss the impact of the government’s renewal process on youth services in the Mackay region and what they got out of the Renewal of Youth Services workshop..

Transcript

Tania

I think one of the main benefits from that workshop was that it got the sector talking again and sharing information again. Whereas because of the process when we initially came out that there was new funding that was going to a tender process and everybody stepped back and weren’t sharing information or talking anymore and that workshop certainly got some of the organisations back talking to each other.

 

Nikki

The two services, and the workshop was just before the sign off of contract, so the two services were aware that their service delivery would change in a major way and so they knew that they would have to work one as the opposite arm to the other service and support and things like that because it was I guess not completely done and dusted and signed off with the contract at that point that there was still I guess…

 

Tania

A little bit of tension in the room…

 

Nikki 

…Tension and confusion around the service delivery. So to have the workshop and have the two parties in the room was a good point to start and to realize that they are supporting the same young people and how it’s going to ultimately meet the needs of the young people so, you know, the change of the service delivery was just a worker issue and it will be a good thing for the young people in the region.

 

Tania

I think the main issue in relation to service delivery is the change in age group. Previously it was 10 to 25 and now it’s 12 to 18 so the difficulty’s around who will look after or capture the age group between 18 and 25 and certainly for me it’s definitely the younger group the 10 to 12 group.

 

Nikki

As a network we’ve identified we’ve got to do the service mapping so what the youth sector now will be delivering and Tania pointed out with the age range stuff YIRS traditionally did the full spectrum of 12 to 25 so they’ve got the older clients from 18 to 25 that they would previously support now needing to go to other services and I think the sector, although it’s easier to identify who the services are, we don’t necessarily have the relationship with them or, if the relationship is there, that service has been used to YIRS walking that young person through and being that additional support. So now with the change in the ages, if they’re older than 18 YIRS can’t do that as much, so it’ll be a change for other services and the youth sector so we’re back to I guess the start again and the basics of building relationships and explaining what those changes in service delivery are and just going from there and seeing, or making sure that young person is well supported but maybe not from the service that they’re used to going to.

 

Tania

I guess one of the actions that came out of that meeting was today having you guys come up and getting the services talking again and doing a bit of that collaboration stuff again.

 

Nikki

And I guess Sue-Ellen had a light bulb moment around the actual network and how many great tools are actually there. And I guess knowing that they’re there, and actually having it pointed out so in your face and obviously, is when you have that moment of, wow this has actually been done before and we may have been going and doing bodies of work and there is support material that we could have been using. 

It’s always hard though, individual people are going to react to change in their own way so you know if it’s to be hesitant and resistant and the head in the sand and not want to go with it, but I guess we were just lucky that from that initial announcement of open tender to no wait hang on we’ve done a bit more work around this and it will be the organisations that already exist but you’re not getting more money which is fine, that’s not the issue I guess, for this region to know that there wasn’t the potential of a bigger outside organisation coming in and doing service delivery from down south I think that was a bit of, for this region a bit of a major concern of the  potential if it was open tender. When we heard that no it’s ok it’s who’s already got the money and whatever that is it’s just a change in service delivery, take a deep breath and it’s ok, it’s going to be different but it’s ok.

 

Tania

I think if people just be open to it and remember that it’s about the people that you support not necessarily a personal issue. That, you know we’re all here to support, in our case, we’re all here to support the young people and as long as they’re supported you know in a holistic way, then that’s what it’s all about.  

 

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