Drop-in centre to help struggling young people in Noosa

A NOOSA youth support service is hoping to establish a drop-in centre to meet an urgent need to assist troubled local youth who are losing their way in life.

According to adult youth leader Michelle Prenzler, eventually Youth Insearch, which runs weekend camps for mixed-up kids, including those with meth amphetamine habits or who have been sexually abused, would like to create a retreat at Doonan where youngsters, including pregnant teenagers, could get their lives back on track during three-month stays.

Ms Prenzler said there was nothing like that kind of support at the moment in Noosa.

"Our big problem I see for here is two part and one is our kids under 15 that are in dire straits," Ms Prenzler said.

"THERE are very few services, as in hostels and things like that, for kids under 15 at all - we're talk

ing about couch surfing kids," Ms Prenzler said.

"Then second, it's the kids that finish either Year 12 or Year 11 and they're in limbo - they've got nothing."

Ms Prenzler said the aim of Youth Insearch was to help these kids find a sense of purpose.

She said it would take about $80,000 to properly fund a drop-in centre, and she already has a site in Noosaville in mind.

In the meantime, Youth Insearch is working towards having a van on the road next year to help connect with local youth.

"There will be courses along the way and there's a social worker that is going to come onboard with us," Ms Prenzler said.

"More than anything it's about plugging them into what's existing and having someone to walk the walk with them.

"I've got a 10-year plan - eventually I'd like five acres out at Doonan and little dongas where kids and pregnant mothers could come and stay for three months and do an intensive course of what we do at camp, as well as learning about budgeting and self-sufficiency," she said.

Member for Noosa Glen Elmes said there was a need for the service that Youth Insearch are providing and looking to expand.

"The John's Landing problem (where people without accommodation go to camp on the cheap) is getting worse," he said.

"You've got troubled youth and troubled youth finishes up with social problems in the town generally, so anything we can do to fix it at the source is a good thing," he said.

He said it would be better to fix the problem at the source rather than trying to help kids when they were finishing high school.

Ms Prenzler said in her experience over dozens of weekend camps, it was never too late to turn a young life around, but she admitted by tackling major personal issues in their later teens "you are pushing the horse uphill".

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