SYC’s permanent CBD centre for young people
15 Jul 2021
We are so proud to announce progress is well underway on our new, purpose-built space for young people in the heart of Adelaide. In September 2020, SYC purchased a property at 46 Carrington Street, in the CBD. Since then, we have worked with architects, university students, artists, young people, frontline workers and our program coordinators to re-imagine the space into a home of new opportunities, skill development and social connection.
The interior has been designed to enhance the natural light and space of the building. The design elements were inspired by the experiences, ideas and needs of young people who have accessed SYC’s current youth spaces. We want the space to inspire and empower young people to build the skills and connections they need to lead thriving, successful and independent lives.
Mark Hoffman-Davis, SYC CEO is excited for the vision of the space.
“SYC’s Carrington Street site is a safe space for young people to find and seize the opportunities they need to build lasting independence. We hope the space will invite connection, collaboration and skill development,” Mark said.
“We are planning for a range of group and individual activities to be delivered from this new space, to help generate home, learning and working opportunities – a space for growth and opportunity across all life domains,” he said.
The site is set to be open to the public in the coming months. Until then, we continue to offer supports from SYC’s Trace-A-Place site at 135 Currie Street, Adelaide.
History and heart
Sixty-three years ago, SYC was founded out of a desire to create services and activities for young people, right where they need it most. We have a long history of providing young people with centrally located and accessible place to be.
In September 1981 SYC opened Trace-A-Place in South Australia. The service was designed in response to a lack of specialised support available to young people experiencing homelessness. The early 1980’s saw youth unemployment rates as high as 15 per cent and many young people coming to the city, seeking work.
SYC Youth Workers met many young people on the streets of Adelaide. They saw first-hand the issues, the isolation and vulnerability that young people experienced, differently to other groups. The opening of Trace-A-Place meant there was a central location that could provide youth specific, appropriate supports to young people experiencing crisis.
For 40 years now, Trace-A-Place has provided young people with immediate assistance including food, clothing, shower/amenities, access to computers, phones, a safe and accepting space. It has also provided longer-term multi-faceted support to access stable accommodation, to develop meaningful relationships, heal from trauma experiences, find employment, and ultimately sustain a positive transition to adulthood and independent living.
This legacy lives on in our new location. Our new space is being fitted out with showers, bathrooms, a kitchen and laundry, a larger group learning space, multiple spaces for individualised meetings, safe spaces to relax and to meet with peers and professionals from across and beyond SYC. Thanks to our generous partners and community support, we will continue to provide young people with food, clothing items and personal items.
By owning, rather than renting this building, SYC has greatly increased capacity to be responsive to the ideas and needs of the young people we support, providing longer term certainty to our community.
Last year we held discussions and reference groups with young people who have previously used our services. We asked them what support they needed most, what was currently missing and what design features would make a space one they would like to use. We received some insightful and surprising responses. Each young person was really looking for opportunities to develop skills. They wanted support for things like getting a licence or qualifications, improving their literacy, having better relationships, developing hobbies and learning life skills.
The site brings together a collection of expertise and services from across SYC.
Our team provides the youth-specific component of the Homeless Connect SA intake, referral and assessment service. This support, both via phone and face-to-face helps young people across the state to connect with and navigate the homelessness system, provide referral to immediate accommodation, housing support services and other wrap-around assistance. The service also provides advice and information to agencies and the broader community to find pathways to housing for young people.
While RentRight SA is a service for people of all ages, within the team we also have dedicated youth tenancy advisors. Our youth advisors will use the space to meet with individual young people and provide group workshops. They help young people looking to secure independent housing for the first time, with preparation, searching and applying for a place, and developing skills needed to succeed as tenants. The guidance provided empowers young people to understand and fulfill their rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
As a registered NDIS provider, we work alongside young people with disability to help them achieve their goals in housing, education and into employment.
This space provides an opportunity for NDIS participants to learn new skills, make important social connections and expand their comfort zone.
The site can provide a central location for young people to meet and engage with our employment and training services. This might include activities like resume writing, employability skills workshops, accredited training and short courses.
Students in our alternative learning programs will also have an extra place to meet and work together.
We will continue to work with young people and the local community to be responsive to their needs. As always, we welcome expressions of interest from individuals and organisations who would like to join in with our vision to help young people lead independent lives.
Contact us to get involved and learn more about our work.