Who is Blackwood Youth Action?

            Blackwood Youth Action was established in 2013 by a group of community members concerned about the wellbeing of young people in our region. The group, now incorporated, has consulted widely with our key stakeholders – young people aged 12 to 25, service providers within the health, education and community services sectors, and the wider community. This consultation process has identified a range of initiatives to improve youth health and wellbeing in our community.

            Blackwood Youth Action Inc. has the primary objective of engaging all young people in their community, to enable them to maximize their fullest potentials. The group has established a social enterprise to fund the employment of a Youth Coordinator. The enterprise itself is developing youth-community relations, whilst also enabling the organisation to further its goals of establishing a youth space in partnership with like-minded organisations within government, community organisations, service clubs and the social services sector.

The objectives of BYA Inc. are:

  • To engage with and advocate on behalf of young people in the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes.

  • To work with young people to create a community in which they have improved opportunities to meet their social, emotional, psychological and physical needs.

  • To provide opportunities for young people to maximise their individual potential within our community, including supporting education and training, and providing recreational and social opportunities.

  • To foster improved relationships, understanding, and shared experiences between young people in the region and the community in which they live.

What are we raising money for?

            Across Australia, one in four young people will suffer a mental illness this year, with only one quarter of these receiving professional help. Young people across rural Australia do not have access to the same services that their regional and city counterparts do. However, rates of mental illness are equally as high.

Specifically to the Blackwood Region are the following barriers to youth accessing services:

  • Limited capacity of service providers in the health and community services sector, particularly youth specific services and a critical shortage in the provision of mental health services to young people.

  • Lack of anonymity, and the fear that confidentiality will be broken is a common concern in the close-knit Bridgetown and Greenbushes communities. This can significantly hamper help seeking.

  • No tertiary educational facilities nearby, requiring young people to travel to Bunbury or further afield to participate in education and training beyond high school.

  • Limited employment and training opportunities.

  • Paucity of public transport further limits youth access to services. The only public bus service travels to Bunbury and return once per day.

  • Inadequate services for marginalised at risk youth.

  • Inadequate services for young people with disabilities. Many of these youth travel weekly to Busselton or Bunbury to seek the support they require.

            BYA Inc. is raising money to break down some of these barriers for our young people getting the care they deserve. Our focus with this round of fundraising is to give our youth the opportunity to have counselling with a trained mental health specialist. This is something all young people in Australia deserve the chance to have.

            Young people are on the cusp of adulthood. It is a wonderfully exciting time: a time of growth, of self-development, of opportunity. With the right support, our youth can thrive, and the foundations of a happy and healthy adulthood can be firmly laid down. BYA Inc. is grateful for your support in helping us to give our country youth the same opportunities for support and assistance as their city friends.