Model Manual for The Youthie and other youth centres

The Youthie LogoStarfish has been engaged to research, review and update The Youthie’s Policy & Procedures Manual.

The impetus for this project is to prepare for the opening of the new Tamworth Regional Youth Centre in Coledale (December 2014). The youth centre is to be one of the first and few purpose designed and purpose built youth centres operating in Australia.

In keeping with Starfish’s charitable purpose, the youth centre policies and procedures manual will be made available under creative commons licence for other youth centres right across Australia to utilise ~ as well as to enable them to further build and refine the model over time.

Starfish acknolwedges The Youthie, Youth Action (formerly YAPA) and Auburn Youth Centre for their extensive work on the manual already, and for sharing their model policies and procedures for this initiative.

Read more about the new youth centre, which forms part of the NOW ~ neighbourhood, opportunities, working together ~ Initiative and The Youthie.

Read more about Starfish’s work on the Tamworth Youth Strategy.

Creating Rural Opportunities for University Graduates

Retaining and attracting young people is a significant challenge for many rural areas, and forms part of more general skills shortage. The flipside of these challenges of course is the opportunity.

The Brolga Project is designed to help redress the regional professional skills shortage by drawing on Australia’s huge pool of graduating university students, and encouraging them towards a regional career.

Starfish has promoted The Brolga Project in several of its projects as an important partner to attract the required professional skills, such as is the case for for The Living Classroom.

Prashanth Van Houten is a young professionals who has worked on several Starfish initiatives, and through The Brolga Project is currently negotiating a position with Regional Development Australia Mid-North Coast.

Principle Architect Michael McPhillips with Magoffin and Deakin Architects (pictured above centre, with graduate Afifah Intanjudin right, and architect David Huntley, left) has recently recruited Graduate Afifah Intanjudin from Malaysia via the University of Newcastle.

Michael has been very pleased to recruit Afifah, having previously had difficulty with mainstream advertising. He said: “I didn’t know much about the project, but it has been a terrific help with finding and interviewing potential staff, especially compared to other programs.”

The graduates the project places in regional communities generally thrive on the experience and Afifah typifies them perfectly.

“I am always looking for new experiences, and a fresh start in a new unknown town sounded appealing to me,” said Afifah. “I think regional Australia actually embodies the true Australian experience!”

Afifah undertakes CAD drafting, 3-D visualisations, general word processing and some contract administration.

Read more about The Brolga Project

The Australian Regional Development Conference | October 2014, Albury NSW

Australian Regional Development Conference

Australia’s sustainability and future are reliant on the development of regional areas. Some regional areas are flourishing and others are struggling. Through innovation, collaboration and sharing there has been progress in many regional communities. This conference ~ “where to from here” ~ will provide equal focus to the advancement of economic and social outcomes for regional Australia.

The Conference will focus on the broad issues of economic, planning, environment and community development. The aim of the conference is to advance economic and social outcomes for regional Australia. The conference provides the opportunity to discuss the challenges, opportunities and future of regional Australia.

Regional Australia is closing the regional-urban divide in many ways. The Australian Regional Development Conference is being held in the Albury-Wodonga area. The twin-cities of Albury-Wodonga were New South Wales and Victorias’ top entry for liveable cities based on housing affordability, health and a sense of community according to the Suncorp Bank Family Friendly Index.

Find out more on the conference website here.

Sustainable Australia Report (2013)

[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]”To sustain the long term wellbeing of Australia’s population, we need to find ways of supporting economic growth without degradation of the environment.”[/quote]

Australia’s National Sustainability Council have released their Sustainable Australia Report 2013.

The Report highlights that Australia has made great progress in many areas ~ most Australians are living longer with better health and levels of education ~ however, inequality has increased and the health of the natural environment has continued to decline (almost all biodiversity indicators examined by the 2011 State of the Environment Report were rated ‘Poor’ or ‘Very-poor’ with deteriorating trends).

Rural and regional communities are identified as facing a diverse range of issues and distinct sustainability challenges in different communities. Performance against social and health indicators is often lower for regional Australians than for their urban counterparts. Indicators of community engagement, however, suggest that regional communities enjoy higher levels of connectedness and social capital.

Read the Report here…

Information or Wisdom?

Web Trend Map

Web Trend Map

[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]

American biologist, E.O. Wilson says: “We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesisers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely. ~ Issue 3 UQ Momentum 2013.”[/quote]

Starfish specialises in research which involves large scale participation and synthesis of information.

Starfish has analysed large bodies of information to prepare synthesis’ regarding:

This is what happens when a Creative Community is given an empty building

Freespace is an experiment in civic hacking, inspired in no small part by Burning Man. But it’s attracting the attention of Fortune 500 companies eager to find ways to bring more creativity and innovation into their work spaces and companies.

Everything in the space is donated or foraged: the couches, the desks, the refrigerator, everything inside the refrigerator, the art, the gardening supplies, and even the giant 12th-century Buddha sitting on the second floor, donated by Christian Armstrong, the founder of the Buddha Preservation Foundation.

Freespace is a month-long experiment to cultivate civic hacks. Through the gift of temporary, underutilized physical space, Freespace fosters creativity, community and civic innovation.

Read more here…
Source: FastCompany

Show Your Support ~ BackTrack Classroom & Gallery

offers young people who have lost their way an opportunity to reconnect with their education and training, to become work ready, find jobs, lead happy and productive lives and participate fully in the community.

BackTrack have recently expanded their Armidale work to include a two-day per week school with real teachers working with real kids toughing it out the best they can in a real world.

In the same space a gallery is also being created. This will display and sell some of the cracking art and welding gear made by young rookies working with talented artist and youth worker Matt Pilkington.

The classroom/gallery in true BackTrack style is a shed ~ hot in summer and likely to be near freezing in winter.

That is unless some urgent funds are secured to upgrade the facility.

If you are willing to vote your support for BackTrack’s newest initiative they will go into the running for a $10,000 grant from Community Mutual Group. This will go a long way to covering the costs for the upgrade… and making a real difference to the lives of many young people finding their way again. BackTrack has a real track record in achieving such results.

To show your support, simply go to the Heart of the Community, join the website site and make your vote for the BackTrack Classroom & Gallery.

Starfish is currently working with BackTrack to expand their work across multiple communities and locations. See here for more details.

More details about BackTrack here

Economics word cloud from ABS analysis of Australia's 55 regional development plans

Australia’s Regional Development Priorities

The Australian Bureau of Statistics have completed an analysis of Australia’s regional development priorities and challenges. This analysis has been based upon the 55 regional development plans prepared from each of the members of Regional Development Australia.

The findings from their analysis include:
– the need to diversify regional economies
– recognition of climate change as a key challenge
– the priority for meeting education and health needs
– youth development being a priority
– infrastructure needs are paramount

Starfish facilitated the large-scale participatory planning for the Northern Inland (NSW) Regional Development Plan.

Find out more…