The Haven offers a safe, welcoming space for young people to:
- Gather and relax
- Make new friends
- Meet potential mentors and role models
- Access food and other necessities
- Participate in recreational activities
- Learn new skills and
- Access opportunities to support their wellbeing
The Haven is based at 92 Wyndham St Shepparton (next door to the RSL) and is open Monday to Thursday from 4pm to 8pm for young people aged 12 - 24 years and Friday from 4pm - 7pm for young people 8 - 12 years old.
The Haven was established in 2017 after extensive community consultation. No appointments or referrals are required, young people can simply walk in off the street. There are a range of recreational activities available at the site including table tennis, pool table, karaoke, board games, basketball and fun organised games. There are also regular guest speakers covering issues such as sex education and mental health and access to music, art and craft, story-telling and multicultural activities. The young people sometimes volunteer in the community and assist with fundraising and are forming links to many community and business leaders via The Haven.
Young people help with the cooking and clean up and a hot cooked meal is served each evening of opening. There is also a vegetable garden and outdoor area for relaxation.
There is also the opportunity to participate in regular excursions around the town such as visits to swimming pools, Kidstown, the lake etc; as well as occasional excursions out of town to the beach, nearby towns and even Melbourne.
The Haven is staffed by trained youth workers as well as a large number of volunteers drawn from the business and wider community. The Haven also has a trainer Youth Worker who provides support to young people & families navigating the justice system.
Young people from all walks of life visit The Haven, while some are thriving, others may be experiencing family or other issues and find The Haven a safe place to access food and support. A group of young people who have been identified as leaders among their peers assist with managing the space, decision-making and program planning.
Some of the young people have challenging lives and efforts are made to link them more effectively to supports such as services, school and the wider community. The Opportunities Broker role further connects young people to relevant services such as housing, mental health and school welfare workers.
Many of the young people appear to flourish in the safe space where they meet new friends and engage regularly with positive role models.
Follow The Haven on Facebook via the link below to keep abreast of daily activities or for further information call The Haven on 0487 315 999.