Fresh funding keeps young people connected
The Assistant Treasurer and Federal Member for Lindsay, the Hon David Bradbury, met recently with Wesley Mission CEO the Rev. Dr Keith Garner and staff at Wesley Mission offices in Penrith to announce an extension of funding for Wesley Mission’s local youth homelessness program, Reconnect.
The Gillard Government has provided Wesley Mission’s Reconnect with $264,882 funding for the 2012-13 financial year to continue its work supporting young people in the Penrith region who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Dr Garner said he was delighted that the Commonwealth Government had committed further funding to Wesley Mission’s Reconnect program.
“Homelessness continues to be a major issue for a growing number of young people in the Nepean area,” Dr Garner said.
“Wesley Mission’s Reconnect program is preventing homelessness and reducing its impact, particularly on families and young people.
“Reconnect works closely with the whole family and aims to provide reconciliation between the young person and his or her family. The program also assists young people to remain engaged with work, education, training and the community which is vital to long term stability and opportunities.”
Dr Garner said since July last year 95 young people aged 12-18 years have been assisted through the program.
Mr Bradbury said Wesley Mission’s Reconnect has had great success in the local community.
“This funding will help ensure Reconnect can continue its great work helping young people to live in a safe and supportive environment,” Mr Bradbury said.
“This program provides support to some of the most vulnerable in our community, helping young people who may not have received the best start in life.
“Providing these young people and their families with the support they need is making a big difference in helping our local community overcome youth homelessness.”
Reconnect caseworker, Andrew Smith, said his work covered an area from the Nepean, to the Lower Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury.
Mr Smith said young people were dealing with a range of issues including domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.
“Apart from putting together a case plan for young people, I also act in a mentoring role,” he said.
Mr Smith said he had been working closely with Jamison High School to provide early intervention strategies.
“Reconnect receives referrals from the school and complements its welfare program,” he said.