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IYC was born from a desire to create meaningful change in the lives of young people. IYC’s journey began in 2016 when Director and Founder Paul Papadatos had the vision to establish a youth space in Melbourne’s Northern suburbs to reach marginalised young people, using the theory of innovation and youth participation working hand in hand. IYC’s team is propelled by a passion to develop innovative programs in our local community that are responsive to the needs of all young people.
In 2022, IYC received a federal grant to implement early intervention crime prevention programs for young people aged 12 to 25. This grant has enabled IYC to bring Paul's vision to reality with the establishment of a youth service in Melbourne’s North.
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It's an organic service for young people and community, that creates positive measurable social change.
Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs are growing rapidly due to the relatively affordable housing in the region. Without the commensurate growth in services, the increasing youth population (12 to 25) experiences a higher than average number of issues, manifesting in a rise in youth crime, drug and alcohol abuse and other antisocial behaviours.
Creating a conveniently located youth centre will help address this service gap. By fostering youth participation and innovation our young people will learn to create their own resources and help their local community.
IYC’s proposed zones of operation i.e. interface and rural council areas are in marginally held electorates. Upon successful completion of the pilot program, it is envisaged that the IYC model is rolled out to other municipalities.
IYC would act as the project coordinator and lead agency, it is proposed that a collaborative management & staffing structure be developed that includes partner agencies taking responsibility for key service outcomes and management.
These agencies would be on a part-time, sessional or project basis, and would cover issues identified in the research, including health, employment and community education. Research has identified significant support for young people to be involved in running a youth centre by way of a peer reference group and student work placements.