House debates

Monday, 14 July 2014

Statements by Members

Indi Electorate: Cafe Connect

4:05 pm

Photo of Cathy McGowanCathy McGowan (Indi, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

You can get a real sense of how well a community is going by paying attention to the young people. I was delighted last week in Mansfield to stop at Cafe Connect on High Street where I was welcomed by team leaders Shannon and Gemma, who gave me a fantastic tour of the facility. The young people who use the cafe have a real sense of ownership and respect for the venue. I could tell when I spoke to them during my visit that they are very comfortable and safe in their environment. They tell me it is a great place to hang.

It is an example of what can be done when a community commits to young people and provides financial backing and ongoing support. But Cafe Connect goes beyond young people. Service groups, including Rotary, regularly cook barbecues for the young people and get to know the kids. It is really a place where connections are made. I want to congratulate the Cafe Connect leadership team: Taylah, David, Ariena, Luke, Chantelle, Darren, Bradley, Joel, Locky, Jai, Billy and Aaron. I also want to congratulate Mansfield shire for their continued support. If other councils and those of us who represent them here are looking to engage with young people, we would have to go a long away before we found a better model than Cafe Connect in Mansfield.