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Gift helps Central Coast youth kick life goals

1 August 2022

Gift helps Central Coast youth kick life goals

A generous legacy from the Richard and Ruth Wilson Charitable Foundation helps The Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth centre in Wyong continue providing much needed support to vulnerable Central Coast youth.

Located in the picturesque town of Wyong, NSW, Oasis Youth Centre is a Salvos initiative that delivers programs focused on prevention and early intervention strategies to youth aged between 12-25 years. Their aim – to support young people in the Central Coast region on their journey towards independence.

Home to over 50,000 young people aged between 12-24 years, the Coast is a beautiful place to live, but it also has some of NSW’s highest levels of family breakdown and domestic violence.

As Robyn Bust, manager of Oasis Youth Services reports, family breakdown is the biggest driver of disengagement from education, and significantly increases someone’s chances of experiencing homelessness, escalating mental health issues and engagement with the justice system. Another flow-on effect is that youth unemployment rates on the Central Coast are almost 50 per cent higher than in Greater Sydney.

About Oasis

Programs at the Oasis provide support in the areas of anger management and drug and alcohol education, plus social programs that provide safe spaces for young people to build positive friendships while learning new skills.

Young people who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing homelessness or engagement with the justice system are supported through case management – where a youth worker will help a young person identify and achieve practical goals.

Among the many programs on offer is Drive for Life, a driver training and mentoring program that equips young people who face barriers to education, training and employment to attain their driver’s licence. The program removes these barriers and provides a pathway towards positive role models, developing independent life skills and improving employment prospects. Oasis also provides vocational training courses in hospitality, community services and business (onsite). Students in these courses are supported to get job-ready by gaining practical experience in the Oasis’s on-site training cafe and helping with community service programs.

Sophie’s story

Sophie* first connected with Oasis in 2020 for help with practical goals, including getting her ID and Centrelink assistance. Sophie was couch surfing, after experiencing family breakdown in her home. An Oasis caseworker supported Sophie to not only achieve her goals, but also helped her apply for independent housing.

After over six months of applying for independent rentals, being in and out of temporary accommodation and couch surfing, Sophie – at the age 18 – was able to secure her own independent housing in an apartment.

She received support with her bond and two weeks advance rent through Housing NSW and was able to access brokerage for some furniture for her new place. While her furniture was in transit, Sophie’s Oasis caseworker helped her purchase temporary items like a mattress, bedding, kettle, toaster and food supplies.

Sophie has continued to reach out to her Oasis caseworker for support as she settles into her first ever independent living situation. Oasis will also continue to support Sophie to develop her living skills, budgeting and finding employment.

How this gift helps

The generous legacy from the Richard and Ruth Wilson Charitable Foundation will be used to help address the rise of mental health issues young people have experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will facilitate the delivery of a range of creative arts programs across the Central Coast, supporting young people to talk about their experiences of mental health and share their story through creative avenues such as art, hip hop and poetry.

Robyn Bust, Manager at Oasis Youth Services is incredibly grateful to the Richard and Ruth Wilson Charitable Foundation for their generosity, as well as all those who value the work of The Salvation Army to leave a legacy for future generations. As she says, “Your donation makes a real difference in the lives of young people in our community, where breaking the cycle of disadvantage in the life of a young person is a huge effort that takes a team.”

Support from donors allows services like Oasis develop innovative programs in response to social issues in the community, such as mental health, substance use, family violence, unemployment, and most recently, a global pandemic. These programs and services build skills, knowledge, and confidence to support young people with making positive life choices on their journey to independence.

*name changed to protect privacy

Click here to find out how to leave a gift in your will or request a free Wills booklet.


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