Coup for our kids
By YVONNE McLEAN
A multi-purpose youth centre, with young people playing the key role in management and activities will be established in or close to Palm Beach.
Crucial to the scheme is the appointment of a full-time youth worker, an appointment likely to have been made as this Gold Coast Mail hits the letter boxes.
The youth centre news was announced by an elated Cr Daphne McDonald only days after this newspaper revealed her intention to call together a cross-section of the community to discuss the issue.
She broached the youth centre idea with Police Minister Judy Spence at a pre-arranged meeting in Brisbane. Council's community services director Collette McCool also supported the concept.
According to Cr McDonald, the outcome could not have been more encouraging - a ministerial commitment of $50,000 towards the cost of employing a qualified youth worker to co-ordinate the project.
Seeking community and political support for a youth centre, Cr McDonald had convened a meeting of area politicians (Federal MP Margaret May and Member for Currumbin Jann Stuckey were there) along with school principals, church leaders, representatives of business, service clubs, police, and the young generation.
"All agreed that a youth centre run by young people could be a practical answer to the restlessness and bad behaviour manifest among some of our young generation," Cr McDonald said.
"It was during this meeting that I received a phone call from Minister Spence confirming Government support and finance for a youth worker - enthusiasm ran high at the news," she said.
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A resolution to be put to council this week by deputy mayor Cr David Power (who lists the establishment of youth centres run by young people with an adult board as a priority) for council to contribute substantial funding for the youth worker is certain to be approved.
An initial step will be an approach to the appropriate Government minister for the temporary use of facilities at the Tallebudgera Sport and Recreation Centre - where some facilities are presently under-utilised. This would be a very effective begin- ning while land and/or a suitable building is sought.
Important, too, is the formation of a youthful steering committee and those interested are invited to contact Cr McDonald. Parents must also be involved.
An early move by Cr McDonald will be for a cottage owned by the Thrower family, acquired by her and moved to Salk Oval, to be considered as an interim office for the youth worker and meeting place.
Cr McDonald described the certainty that now surrounds a youth centre as the most wonderful news.
"We now have a plan that must surely instill into many young people a sense of pride in themselves and in one another," she said.
"The stakes are high and I believe only good will come of the scheme not only for Palm Beach but for the wider community.
"Of course the financial cost will be high, but we're confident of backing from the Federal government and private enterprise.
"A youth centre is on the way and a lot of people have the faith that it will succeed," Cr McDonald said.