QAMH Member of the Month – June 2019

yourtown is our June Member of the Month!

Each month we will be highlighting the value and diversity of our members and the fantastic work they do in the community mental health sector.

Read on below to learn more about yourtown, including their history, values and mission. 

Please tell us a little bit about your organisation?

yourtown is a charity with services young people can access to find jobs, learn skills, become great parents and live safe happy lives.  Kids Helpline is a service of yourtown and is Australia’s only free, private & confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for 5 to 25 year-olds.

What are three words to describe your organisation?

Compassionate, Professional and Committed

How/why/when did your organisation get started?

Since 1961, yourtown has been tackling the issues impacting young people in Australia. Today, these include mental health and unemployment, and taking on issues like domestic and family violence.

What inspires your work and what sets your organisation apart from everyone else?

We take the time to listen, understand and encourage young people to find their place.  Our aim is to be part of the solution by delivering services that get results.

Where does your organisation provide services? What type of services are offered?

yourtown is a national organisation and registered charity that aims to tackle the issues affecting the lives of young people. Established in 1961, yourtown’s mission is ’to enable young people, especially those who are marginalised and without voice, to improve their quality of life’.

yourtown provides a range of face-to-face and virtual services to young people and families seeking support. These services include:

  • Kids Helpline, a national 24/7 telephone and on-line counselling and support service for 5 to 25 year olds with special capacity for young people with mental health issues;
  • intervention programs for young people at risk of early disengagement from formal education;
  • training programs, social enterprises and employment services which assist young people to secure employment;
  • training, mentoring and employment services for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • accommodation responses to young parents with children who experience homelessness and women and children seeking refuge from domestic and family violence;
  • young parent programs offering case work, individual and group work support and child development programs for young parents and their children;
  • Parentline, a telephone counselling service for parents and carers; and therapeutic interventions for young children and infants who have experienced trauma and abuse or been exposed to violence.

How many employees do you have? How many offices, and where are they located?

We have approximately 650 staff and volunteers engaged in jobs that range from counsellors, trainers and other practitioners to accountants, fundraisers and administrators.

Our service locations are prioritised to areas of high socio-economic disadvantage. yourtown has 49 service centres in 37 locations across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.

How has your organisation changed over the last few years – and what has driven this change?

With programs and services at both a national and local level, we’re helping young people in your street, your suburb, your community, your town.

We first opened our doors as BoysTown when the De La Salle Brothers setup a Queensland based residential school for young men. So much of our organisation has changed since that time; the services we deliver, the help we offer and the way we interact with our community have all evolved. In 2016, we felt the time was right to move to a name and image which better reflects the inclusive nature of our work.

We aim to achieve real change for those who turn to us, helping them find jobs, learn skills, become great parents and live safe and happy lives. As an inclusive organisation we need to make sure there are no impediments to young people accessing our services.

Looking forward, what do you see as the main challenges/opportunities for your organisation, and why?

Continuing to ensure live up to our promise to children and young people to be there any time and for any reason with Kids Helpline. At present we are unable to keep up with the demand – particularly as young people choose to engage with our online counselling service in larger and larger numbers. Our challenge is to ensure every young person gets the response they need in a timely fashion.

Tell us something about your organisation that most people wouldn’t know?

Kids Helpline employs over 130 qualified Counsellors to answer calls 24×7. Our busiest time of day is between 2pm and 10 pm where we can have up to 50 counsellors rostered on.

In 2018 we undertook our fourth Employee Engagement Survey.  It told us that yourtown sits in a culture of ambition with 72% of staff saying yourtown is a truly great place to work.

Contact Details:
Website – https://www.yourtown.com.au/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/yourtownAU
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/yourtown
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/yourtownprizehomes/
Phone – (07) 3368 3399