A community hub is helping youth, writes Linda Wyrill.
Hive 12 – Twenty Five opened in Modbury last August  after a feasibility study by the City of Tea Tree Gully Council highlighted a lack of services and infrastructure in the area to support young people and their families. The City of Tea Tree Gully includes 17,000 young people aged 12 to 25, some of whom face social or emotional problems such as substance abuse, violence and family-relationship issues. Hive partners with community groups such as YWCA and UnitingCare Wesley to make counselling, clinical services, careers training and other services accessible in one location. The centre includes an information-technology suite, training kitchen, training rooms, three counselling rooms, a clinical room, an arts studio and gallery, and a mixed-use space that can accommodate up to 70 people.
UnitingCare provides services such as family-relationship counselling and support for young people who have experienced violence, including sexual abuse. Most importantly, says the council's youth development officer Carly Didcote, families can also be involved in the process through mediation counselling. As well, Hive provides mental-health services, and plans to make sexual-health advice available. UnitingCare runs a free GP service in Hive's clinical room. There are also alcohol and drug-counselling services for homeless youth, and youth at risk of becoming homeless.
Crafternoons is a free program in which young people create artworks and crafts while developing social connections. Last year Hive hosted an arts-therapy-based project for young people, in which participants created a plaster-cast human torso that became a medium for expressing emotions. Through the project, 18-year-old Jayk Mortimer's skills as a street artist were noticed. With help and mentoring, Jayk has since worked on his own collection, and recently held his first solo exhibition at Hive. He's sold several pieces, has been commissioned to do a mural, and runs street-art workshops for the Crafternoons program.
The hub runs a number of school-holiday activities: sports, internet groups, road-safety information sessions, and programs for young parents. Hive also focuses on developing skills for the workforce through the Skill It Up program, which offers training in finance, budgeting, resumé writing, job interviews and marketing, as well as barista training and other food-industry skills such as catering, food preparation and customer service.
Young people have the opportunity to take on a leadership role with Hive's Youth Action Committee (pictured). The committee meets twice a month to plan Hive's youth events and gain experience in event management. This year Hive will host two residency programs: a curator in residence will select young artists to profile and will coordinate several art exhibitions; and an artist in residence will have access to Hive's art studio, support, staffing and resources to develop their skills. "This is what Hive is all about – providing opportunities to inspire young people to reach their full potential," says Tea Tree Gully mayor Miriam Smith. "While focusing on the arts, they will also be developing their skills in leadership and organisation – an asset in whatever careers they choose."
Carly Didcote advises young people in other areas to contact their local council to find out about services available. Most areas have facilities for youth, she says, such as Twelve25 Salisbury Youth Enterprise Centre and Campbelltown Youth.
This article was first published in the May 2012 edition of Adelaide's Child.