Community fund grant keeps YouthLinx running

A GRANT from the Tasmanian Community Fund (TCF) has enabled the important Bridgwater YouthLinx program to continue despite a change in Federal Government policy that resulted in a loss of funding support.

The YouthLinx program operated by the Bridgewater Police and Citizens Youth Club has received $53,120 from the TCF to maintain the program while additional funding is secured.The Bridgewater PCYC program caters for more than 6000 people annually, with up to 300 involved at any one time.

YouthLinx offers an after-school youth drop-in service, as well as structured activities plus support and referral assistance for ‘at risk’ youth. The project has been operating for the past eight years, however a change in focus by the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations resulting in a loss of funding.

Bridgewater PCYC superintendant Senior Constable Byron Howard said the TCF funding had enabled the program to continue while new funding was secured from the Commonwealth and other sources.

Senior Constable Howard said YouthLinx represented an important response to the needs of young people in the Bridgewater – Gagebrook area.

“It provides positive peer support, encourages social and economic participation, sporting activities, school holiday excursions and family events.

“It is supervised by our youth coordinator Michael Morgan with the assistance of five regular volunteers, and we work closely with the Bridgewater High School to encourage school attendance as well as identifying training and employment opportunities.

“We would not have been able to continue this important program without the TCF funding,” Senior Constable Howard said.

TCF chair Lynn Mason said the latest grant followed an earlier allocation that had assisted the development of the YouthLinx building and earlier grants for vital community projects in the Brighton municipality.

Ms Mason said the TCF had supported the Bridgewater PCYC over the long term because the organisation understood and responded to the issues confronting young people and the families in Bridgewater and Gagebrook.