Findings from a research project were delivered to the Woorabinda community recently, as the culmination of the three-year study was marked by collaborators in celebration of the achievements attained from the establishment of a PCYC in efforts to curb youth crime and community disharmony.
Funded through a community partnership with BHP and BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), the research project was undertaken by CQUniversity’s Office of Indigenous Engagement (OIE) and run in collaboration with the Queensland Police Service (QPS), Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council (WASC), and Queensland PCYC.
Lead Project Officer, Madeline Stewart said the research findings highlighted an improvement in community harmony, and had resounding positive impacts on the general health and wellbeing of the participating youth.
“We focused on the key topic areas of community harmony; youth health, wellbeing and engagement; and crime reduction, and we saw participants come away with a greater sense of confidence, respect and saw less involvement in crime,” Ms Stewart said.
“The project was co-designed with key stakeholders in the Woorabinda community and participating youth so that we could efficiently measure the impact on youth behaviours, and then provide key recommendations to the Woorabinda community so they could continue to address the heart of young people’s needs, such as having more or different types of community-driven support pillars in place.”
“As a direct result it was found that 93 per cent of the youth participants enjoyed their time at the PCYC and came away with an understanding of the importance of education in their lives.”
PCYC Youth Club Manager Gerry Doyle has been on the ground since the inception of the PCYC project in late 2019, and has seen the benefits to the community of the establishment, with a noticeable decline in youth offences.
“We went in with the aim to see less youth and family disengagement, and to be able to provide the support and encouragement youth required so that they were empowered to make informed decisions and choices about their future, and we’ve definitely seen that occur throughout this project” Mr Doyle said.
Linda Murry General Manager of BMA’s Hay Point Coal Terminal said BMA was proud to support community-driven initiatives that provided improved pathways, especially for disengaged youth in regional and remote communities.
“At BMA we recognize the strength of communities reflects directly on our business. We also acknowledge the incredible work of CQUniversity, the PCYC and Woorabinda in this project, but really applaud the contributions of the younger people, the ones who use the PCYC’s resources, to build a better service that meets their needs,” said Linda.
The CQUniversity study hopes to be able to inform youth program strategy and delivery, and Ms Stewart said that a key recommendation has been in role-modelling with program staff who demonstrate good leadership and respect, fostering a safe environment for youth to dream about their future.
“One of our youth participants said that ‘stuff we talk about at PCYC is different to what we talk about at school and at home. At PCYC we talk about the future’ – and while there’s still more work to be done, we feel privileged when we hear things like that and we will continue to partner in community-led research with the Woorabinda community,” Ms Stewart said.