Youth worker Emma Davy plans Glen Innes Severn Council's new youth centre

Emma Davy is Glen Innes' new youth worker.
Emma Davy is Glen Innes' new youth worker.

Youth Worker Emma Davy says she wants the youth of Glen Innes to define and design the new youth centre being established for them.

The Glen Innes Severn Council last month agreed to convert the toy library on Wentworth street into a youth centre at a cost of $300,000 .

Emma Davy said she wanted to collaborate and consult with the youth who'd be using the space, giving them input over design, which services would be available and even its governing rules.

The youth centre should "give them somewhere positive, somewhere safe, somewhere where they can feel like they belong, somewhere to have ownership over and somewhere we can start that positive engagement," she said.

Two of the popular asks so far are for a quiet place to study, and a place to practice music. The back of the centre may even be a place where they can play a live music concert.

"The kids are really excited at the idea of a music room, we've got some really talented young musicians." she said.

Donations have already started flowing, including gaming consoles and a donation of musical instruments from the high school.

Ms Davy, a mother of two, was a local high school teacher and knows many or most of the youth of Glen Innes already. She took on the position on January 15.

It's not a social worker position she emphasises - it's more like a member of the community who can help navigate the bureaucracy of social work. Someone who can do activities with kids, but also refer them on if referral is needed.

“At local government level it’s about liaison, engagement and even co-ordinating, but it’s not a social worker role,” she said.

She wants to build a positive message within and about a community that has had issues in the past.

“Too often we hear the negatives, such as lack of facilities, lack of jobs, and all the things a country town does not have for youth.

“But one of the fundamental issues is a lack of communication with youth on a level that engages them, and that is a whole of community job.

“I see it as part of my job to facilitate this in time.”

The aim is "getting them to see that Glen Innes is a really great place to live and work and raise a family.

"I know a lot of people just want to finish school , get out of here, get away, that sort of thing, but it's actually a really great place to be and there's lots of opportunities."

The ABS estimates that there were about 994 people between the ages of 15 and 24 in 2015, across an area that covers Emmaville and Deepwater. (The council defines youth as between 12 and 24 so the real number is probably higher). The centre will have a capacity of about 20 at any one time, with 30 the overflow capacity.

It's expected to be open July 1 this year.

Emma Davy is here to help.

Emma Davy is here to help.