Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Blair Electorate: Ipswich Community Youth Service
I want to highlight the wonderful work of a not-for-profit organisation in my electorate of Blair: the Ipswich Community Youth Service. This organisation, better known as ICYS, is an organisation dedicated to supporting at-risk children and young people, and their families, in the Ipswich region. Its recent expansion into the Somerset region has been warmly welcomed.
This organisation, by 'empowering tomorrow's decisions'—that is their motto—assists young people to reach their full potential. The organisation is uniquely local and is involved in and dedicated to the local community and particularly young people in the western corridor. It is an organisation that has withstood the harsh cuts of the heartless former coalition government in Queensland led by Campbell Newman. It continues to thrive, thanks to the dedication, hard work and commitment of its board, staff and volunteers—in particular, Amanda Margerison, the ICYS Service Manager who has led this dynamic team through good times, then tough times and now good times again. Thanks to Amanda and her team, this organisation is a community fixture that has been for decades beloved by young people and their families who have benefitted from its programs, along with many local schools who host its programs and services.
I was pleased last Friday to sit at the table of this organisation at the Ipswich Region Child Protection Week Awards dinner and see the support and respect for the organisation shown by other providers in the region. I had the honour of speaking at the opening of the Lowood Youth Hub, run by ICYS and made possible with federal government funding. I was pleased to support the Ipswich Community Youth Service's application for federal funding and to see it through. Although a number of programs operated at the hub are done with the support of Queensland government funding, it has the support of the Ipswich City Council and the Somerset Regional Council.
Lowood is a small town in the rural parts of my electorate in the Somerset region. It is an old heritage township surrounded by rural and agricultural land. It is home to workers, battlers, old miners, meatworkers, small business operators and, of course, farmers. Like in many Australian regional towns, life can be challenging for young people, particularly in finding employment. Job opportunities are few and public transport is minimal. This organisation has made a particular point of collaborating with the council and a host of other local organisations, including the community-run Bendigo Bank. Through the hub young people can become more engaged in their community, access support and participate in training and programs, and I was pleased to see the number of young people there at the opening of the hub. Young people can improve their life skills and be provided with opportunities many city kids in urban areas take for granted. Congratulations to Ipswich Community Youth Service for their support. The hub will help not just the people of Somerset but also those in the neighbouring Lockyer Valley.