Date: 28 July 2021

One year on from Sony Foundation’s  funding announcement to support youth affected by the Black Summer Bushfires in the Mallacoota region, The Mallacoota Youth Group have established their very own ‘Sanctuary’, a thriving hub of community engagement.

In the wake of the bushfires, a group of inspiring youth came together to support their peers and community, forming the Mallacoota Youth Group. They quickly identified that a drop-in space, run by youth, for youth, would be needed as a safe place for young people to be together and support each other. It would also be a place where they can be supported by mentors in the community to learn, access resources and equipment to be creative with and experience different opportunities and ways of being.

 “Inherent to our efforts are that young people's voices and perspectives should be elevated, and that as an organisation we advocate for spaces, systems and processes to be more inclusive and aware of youth experiences and views,” - Mallcoota Youth Group Committee

Taking over the old newsagent, ‘The Sanctuary’ was formed, acting as a space to support youth, and create opportunities to engage within the community.

“There should always be a place like The Sanctuary wherever young people live. Each youth space would be different, but it's better when there is somewhere for young people to make their own way.” - Youth Member 

Over the past 12 months, The Sanctuary has launched an array of exciting music and creative programs including:-

  • Setting up a media and film crew to not only share their stories, but develop skills to tell them themselves;
  • Started The Sanctuary Band, and even hosted their first show for the community;
  • Joined 3MGB Community Radio, to host a weekly program ‘Utopian Exspectators’, sharing youth perspectives and increasing representation on the airwaves;
  • Hosted Artist and Media Workshops;
  • Strum Club Music jamming sessions, bringing youth and young adults together;
  • Weekly community events including sporting activities, games nights, trivia nights and more!

The Sanctuary has also engaged the youth in initiatives and programs that in the areas of advocacy, wilderness conservation and sustainability, sports and programs to support and connect with neighbouring regions.

“It's good that we did something that made the town better, when the fires and covid and stuff damaged it. and it's not just about the fires, but it (the sanctuary) is gonna keep going!” - Youth Member

Sony Foundation is proud to support the work of the Mallacoota Youth Group and look forward to seeing the impact of The Sanctuary continue over the two year partnership.

To learn more about The Sanctuary Mallacoota Youth Group click HERE.

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