Good afternoon and welcome to this very special occasion, the official opening of the Highlands Youth Hub.
I begin by also acknowledging the traditional owners and custodians of this land on which we meet today and pay my respect to Elders past and present.
Before we officially open this wonderful refurbished centre, can I please pass on the apologies of both the Mayor, Councillor Juliet Arkwright, and the Member for Goulburn, Pru Goward MP who were unable to attend this afternoon.
Ladies and gentlemen, it could be argued that today’s opening has been more than two decades in the making, as it was back in 1992 that the original Loseby Park Youth Centre was opened on this very site.
Fast forward 22 years and here we are officiating at the opening of the brand new Highlands Youth HUB.
A facility which now boasts a new commercial-style kitchen, covered outdoor space, meeting rooms, a digital editing suite and computer lab with free Wi-Fi group rooms, offices and Youth Services consulting rooms.
Also included is a brand new outbuilding and refurbished adjoining hall.
But these improvements did not come about by chance.
They are in fact the result of extensive community consultation and collaboration between the Highlands Community Centre, local community organisations, Council and the State Government and was specifically designed with youth input, and a Youth Hub Advisory Group consisting of young people from Bowral and Moss Vale High Schools and Chevalier College.
I wish to pay particular thanks to these students.
All too often we hear of the misadventures of our youth when such great stories of collaboration like this fly under the radar.
Also instrumental in today’s opening has been the ongoing support of the Highlands Community Centres, who have been here since day one back in in the early 90’s.
Thank you too to the Youth HUB Task Force Members for their guidance, contribution and unwavering support of our Shire’s youth.
I would also like to acknowledge and thank Family and Community Services and the Member for Goulburn, The Hon Pru Goward, Minister for Community Services for her contribution to the project under the Community Builders Funding Scheme and FAC’s contribution through Community Builders.
I think you’ll agree the finished product was well worth the effort.
After six months of construction, here we are with a true ‘one stop shop’ for our Shire’s youth services and activities.
At this point I would also like to pay particularly thanks to Chris Richmond, Council’s Properties Coordinator who was the Project Manager on site and also the many trades people involved in the construction and fit-out of the wonderful facility.
Importantly, youth workers will now be located on-site, five days a week offering our Shire’s youth discreet and professional advice, guidance and assistance.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for attending today and for your continuing support of today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders.
Thank you and please enjoy the remainder of your afternoon.
Councillor Juliet Arkwright
Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire