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17 September 2022
Four of the Oasis Youth Services team at the Wyong centre on the NSW Central Coast.From left: Mathew, team leader, and caseworkers Dane, Emma and Rachel.
International Charity Week runs from 5-11 September this year. This week raises the profile of charitable gifts in Wills and provides an opportunity for supporter charities, including the Salvos, to convey their importance to the life-changing work they do
A generous legacy from the Richard and Ruth Wilson Charitable Foundation is helping The Salvation Army Oasis Youth Services centre in Wyong continue providing much-needed support to vulnerable young people on the NSW Central Coast.
The Oasis Youth Services is a Salvos initiative that delivers programs focused on prevention and early-intervention strategies to youth aged between 12-25. Their aim is to support young people in the region on their journey towards independence.
The Central Coast is a beautiful area, but it also has some of NSW’s highest levels of family breakdown and domestic violence.
As Oasis program manager Robyn Bust reports, family breakdown is the biggest driver of disengagement from education, and significantly increases someone’s chances of experiencing homelessness, escalating mental health issues and engagement with the justice system. Another flow-on effect is that youth unemployment rates on the Central Coast are almost 50 per cent higher than in Greater Sydney.
Programs at the Oasis Youth Centre provide support in anger management and drug and alcohol education, plus social programs that provide safe spaces to build positive friendships while learning new skills.
Young people are supported through case management – where a youth worker will help a young person identify and achieve practical goals.
Among the many programs on offer is Drive for Life, a driver training and mentoring program that equips young people who face barriers to education, training and employment to attain their driver’s licence. The program removes these barriers and provides a pathway towards positive role models, developing independent life skills and improving employment prospects. Oasis also provides vocational training courses in hospitality, community services and business (onsite).
Sophie* connected with Oasis in 2020 for help with practical goals, including getting her ID and Centrelink assistance. Sophie was couch-surfing after experiencing family breakdown in her home. A caseworker supported Sophie to both achieve her goals and apply for independent housing.
After over six months of applying for independent rentals, being in and out of temporary accommodation and couch-surfing, Sophie – at 18 – was able to secure independent housing.
She received support with her bond and two weeks advance rent through Housing NSW and was able to access brokerage for some furniture for her new place. While her furniture was in transit, Sophie’s Oasis caseworker helped her purchase temporary items like a mattress, bedding, kettle, toaster and food supplies.
Oasis will continue to support Sophie to develop her living skills, budgeting and to find work.
The generous legacy from the Richard and Ruth Wilson Charitable Foundation will be used to help address the rise of mental health issues young people have experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will facilitate the delivery of a range of creative arts programs across the Central Coast.
Robyn is grateful to the Richard and Ruth Wilson Charitable Foundation for their generosity, as well as all those who value the work of the Salvos to leave a legacy for future generations. As she says, “Your donation makes a real difference in the lives of young people in our community, where breaking the cycle of disadvantage is a huge effort that takes a team.”
Support from donors allows services like Oasis to develop innovative programs in response to social issues in the community, such as mental health, substance use, family violence, unemployment, and most recently, a global pandemic.
These programs and services build skills, knowledge and confidence to support young people with making positive life choices on their journey to independence.
*Name has been changed
Leaving a gift to the Salvos in your Will is a special way you can keep on caring for people into the future.
To find out how and to download your free booklet, go to salvationarmy.org.au/donate/wills-and-bequests