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Noffs Foundation initiative helps homeless youth take hold of their lives

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Noffs Foundation initiative helps homeless youth take hold of their lives

launch-admin Jul 23, 2012 0 1577

Media Release

ACT Minister for Community Services Joy Burch launches Take Hold program


Canberra, 23rd July, 2012: The Noffs Foundation today announced the launch of a three-year program for homeless youth. In a new approach to care, young people in supported accommodation will be provided with practical life skills to help them become more independent.


The Take Hold program* will see people aged 15 to 25 coached on topics including how to manage their money, how to apply for jobs, cooking, dealing with stress, conflict resolution, how to live in shared housing and sexual health issues.


As part of the program, nine mentors have also been recruited and trained to provide further guidance for youth in need. Mentors, who will act as a big brother or sister, will be matched with young people in need according to their similar interests and hobbies.


The program is being officially launched on Wednesday, July 25th by the ACT Minister for Community Services, Joy Burch. The minister will present certificates to the newly trained mentors at the Noffs Foundation office in Civic. A second round of recruitment and training of more mentors is planned for August.


There will also be a social enterprise component to the Take Hold program, which will see start-up money provided to young people with a small business idea.


Noffs Foundation ACT senior manager, Ronan O’Connor, said: “The services we’re providing to homeless youth are quite a different approach to what many may have previously experienced – moving from a state of dependency, to encouraging greater independence. We’ll be giving young people the life skills to be more self-sufficient and have the confidence to go out into the community to make their own informed choices about what they do with their lives. It could be about guiding them on how to manage their finances, or learning how to cook a simple meal.


“For many of us, these are skills we take for granted. But for others who’ve fallen into situations beyond their control, such as a family breakdown, it may have stopped them from finishing school or holding down a job – instead finding themselves living on the streets. Through this program, we’ll be helping young people in need by not only arming them with practical tools they can use in their day-to-day lives, but also providing a new opportunity to make a business idea a reality.


“Research has also shown that the biggest influence in a young person’s life, outside of the family unit, is through an adult they can trust. The Take Hold mentors will play an important role in lending a supportive and friendly ear to a young person who may just need someone to talk to.”


Noffs Foundation spokesman, Matt Noffs, said: “At the Noffs Foundation’s Street University facility in south-western Sydney, we’ve been helping over 3,000 young people each year. Since 2007, we’ve provided referral services to help them find accommodation and apply for jobs. Street University also provides counselling and offers courses on everything from literacy to linguistics, music and dance.


“The work we’ll be doing in Canberra, through the Take Hold program, will further compliment what we’ll soon be providing to young people when we open the doors to a new Street University campus in Canberra in the near future,” he said.


*The Take Hold service, which is being operated by the Noffs Foundation, is funded in partnership between the Australian Government and ACT Government, under the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA). The objective of the NAHA is that all Australians have access to affordable, safe and sustainable housing that contributes to social and economic participation. 

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Media contact: Sarah Tsiros 02) 9492 1034 / 0466  805 364  camille@launchgroup.com.au

About the Noffs Foundation: The Noffs Foundation was founded by the great Australian humanitarian, Reverend Ted Noffs, in 1970. During his remarkable career of pioneering initiatives for young people, Ted Noffs established Sydney’s first 24 hour crisis centre in 1968, set up the first Drug Referral Centre in Sydney in 1967, co-founded the Aboriginal Affairs Foundation in 1962 and was the co-founder of Lifeline in 1963. The Noffs Foundation today continues the legacy of Ted Noffs by providing essential services for young people and their families who are experiencing drug and alcohol problems and related trauma. Its range of programs for young people are all based on leading research, continually evaluated and government endorsed.

About Street University: The Noffs Foundation’s Street University was co-founded by Matt and Naomi Noffs, and officially launched by Public Enemy in 2008. Located in south-west Sydney, Street University is a meeting place, a support network and learning centre for young people. There are counselling and referral support services, and classrooms filled with courses on everything from literacy to linguistics, music, dance and sports facilities. Today, Street University sees over 3,000 young people a year; with over 500 young people regularly attending. In 2012, Noffs will open Street University campuses in Mt Druitt and Canberra.

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