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Drive to support young people experiencing homelessness

02-12-2021 Category: General Posted by: emily.roberts

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Access to safe, stable and adequate housing is essential for young people’s health and wellbeing, yet each night, many young people across Lithgow and the Nepean Blue Mountains region are experiencing homelessness.

Data released through the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates family and domestic violence and financial stress are the most commons reasons for people seeking support through homeless support services.

To support vulnerable youth, headspace Lithgow are running a campaign to raise funds for a free “youth pantry” at the centre that will be available to all young people who wish to access it.

Ashleigh Sakkouri, headspace Lithgow Community Engagement Officer says the initiative adds another layer of support options to young people in the region.

“Homelessness is a complicated issue – it refers to anyone without access to safe and stable accommodation such as those ‘couch-surfing’ or living in temporary accommodation.

The youth pantry concept is a way for us to build on the safe space we’ve already created within the centre. Young people should feel comfortable stopping by and helping themselves to what they need,” Ms Sakkouri said.

The youth pantry will be stocked with:

  • Non-perishable food and drinks
  • Sanitary and hygiene items
  • Back packs and bags full of essential items
  • Sleep out packs and other supportive items

To raise money to support the youth pantry the team are collecting donations and selling raffle tickets*.

“We will be holding a free community music event and free BBQ lunch on 14 January 2022, run by our Youth Reference Group. They’re also going to be presenting on what youth homelessness looks like in our local area – and there will be a few local music acts TBA,” Ms Sakkouri said.

Tickets will be available for purchase at:

  • headspace, 23 Main St Lithgow
  • High Street Music, 165a Main St Lithgow
  • Home Town Café, 48 Main St Lithgow
  • Mumma Snow's Country Kitchen Café, 1 Mutton Falls Road Tarana
  • On the day 14/1/2022 at 12pm till 3pm at Cook Street Plaza Lithgow

$5 per raffle ticket or 3 tickets for $10. Cash and cheque donations will also be collected at headspace Lithgow.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who has donated prizes, we’re really fortunate to have backing from generous, passionate community members,” Ms Sakkouri said.

*The raffle prize is a custom-made electric guitar proudly built and donated by Stephen from Stephens Custom Guitars RRP from $5.000. The wood used to build the body of the Guitar is a Burl that survived the Blackout bush fires of 2019 from Clarence in the Lithgow valley region. Some of the art work on the guitar was done by a local Indigenous Artist Rick Slaven and the Guitar case was donated by a local musical Duo Lez and Nae.

headspace Lithgow operates through lead agency Marathon Health, and is supported by funding from Wentworth Healthcare, provider of the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN as part of the Australian Government’s PHN program.

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