A new City of Swan project is taking a proactive and holistic approach to supporting young people and reducing anti-social behaviour in Ballajura.
The Ballajura Youth Outreach project was launched in September in response to an increase in disengaged youth and anti-social activity in the Ballajura hub precinct, which includes Ballajura Public Library, Swan Active Ballajura and Ballajura Skate Park.
This increase has come in the past years in the context of COVID-19 restrictions and the growing cost-of-living crisis, and has led to some unsafe interactions between young people and workers.
Local support service providers have also reported a rise in requests for emergency relief and case management in the same period.
In collaboration with service providers, the City identified a pressing need for a dedicated youth outreach service.
Earlier this year, the City received a $200,000 grant from the State Government to hire two youth outreach workers and launch the Ballajura Youth Outreach project.
The project has been designed to help at-risk young people make positive connections with their community, feel a sense of belonging, access support services, and build resilience and capacity.
It will have four stages – reconnaissance, engagement, referral and program development.
The City’s youth outreach workers are not connected to any particular provider, allowing them to play a valuable linking role between young people and support services.
They will be able to meet young people aged 12-25 in their own spaces, including hot spots around the hub precinct.
Alongside this, they will offer peer mentorship and support to local service providers to help them develop positive relationships with at-risk young people.
The overall aim is sustainable change, with the project set to increase leadership and participation opportunities for young people, while reducing anti-social behaviour.
Since launching in early September, the Youth Outreach Workers have created the Helping Minds Mental Health Workshop, managed an R U OK? Day stall at Ballajura Community College and organised the free Ballajura Skate Park Contest.
They have also supported established services such as Whitelion Youth Agency, Ballajura Youth Committee, Art Jam WA and local schools.
The Ballajura Youth Outreach project has shown positive signs in its first few months and will continue in 2024 with new activities and the same holistic approach to driving change.