Mural marks step towards inclusive hangout space

The unveiling of a mural by Feona Bates at headspace on Wednesday represents a wider vision to support young people in town and create a space for them to feel welcome.

Rylie McAllister, a member of the Youth Reference Group at headspace, said the mural was the starting point for plans for a youth hangout area.

“We’re planning on opening it up for youth to come out and just hang out whenever they have the time to and make it just a safe space for anyone,” he said.

“[Having this space] will mean that there will be less kids just walking around the streets doing nothing. It’ll allow them to have a safe space where they can just sit and just hang out with friends or hang out by themselves if they just need a bit of time alone.

“It’ll also allow them, if there’s issues going on at home, to just come down here and just hang out here with no real questions asked, unless there needs to be some.”

The 19-year-old said the Youth Reference Group has been beneficial in engaging with the organisation and helping young people find comfort, while being taught skills themselves.

“It’s very much a step in a good direction when it comes to headspace and a big achievement because it allows us to show that, ‘hey, we’re actually doing something for the youth, we’re actually able to achieve big things such as this’,” he said.

“It’s also helped a lot of members of the YRG learn how to do things like write grants. It’s just a fantastic learning experience. [headspace] are so encouraging and have taught me and other younger members here so much about working in this kind of field and being able to do so many different things. It’s great to have their support.”

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