HANG OUT: The Monto Rural Youth Shed is open for the town's young community to enjoy.
HANG OUT: The Monto Rural Youth Shed is open for the town's young community to enjoy. Jack Lawrie

New youth shed open to public

THE Monto Neighbourhood Centre's new youth shed held its grand opening on Monday, with a number of young people from the community dropping by for a barbecue and an afternoon of hanging out.

ExcelCare Youth worker Nadine Smith had been trying to get the project off the ground since she came to the town late last year.

"I've been here now for over 12 months and started working on this my first day,” Mrs Smith said.

"This has been a good year in the making.”

ExcelCare applied for a $35,000 development grant to go towards insulation, furniture and general structural work for the shed.

After that, the group held a meeting with some young people from the town to get an idea for aesthetic and general use of the place.

Temeka Jones, 16, was involved with the planning from the start.

The main goal was to get the shed looking nice, easy to relax in and "teenagey.”

"The first day before we did anything, we had a meeting to pick colours, setup and just rearranged everything to the way we liked it,” Temeka said.

"We were painting, setting up the couches and the TV, there was a lot of cleaning.”

Temeka said she saw herself coming over to the shed to hang out with her friends every day it was on.

"There was a lot of work, so it feels good now that it's done to just have fun and enjoy it,” she said.

That was followed by two weeks of painting and general cleaning work to get the space ready, with plenty of young volunteers helping out along the way.

The shed is divided into two sections separated by a partition wall: an open space for meetings and community group sessions, and a lounge room area with a game console set up for relaxing.

Unsurprisingly, the young people in attendance spent most of the opening day party chilling out in the lounge room, going up against each other in games of 'Just Dance' on a Nintendo Wii.

Deputy Mayor Faye Whelan who attended the launch, said youth support was an important priority.

"I think it's fantastic for the youth, and they seem to be enjoying it,” Cr Whelan said.

"If you allow youth to help themselves, they appreciate it more, they need to be the drivers.”

ExcelCare CEO Rod Hutcheon also came along to the launch.

Plans are still open air for community groups to run classes and events out of the youth shed.

"I prefer that the community come and drive the projects, because it needs that backing,” Mrs Smith said.

The Youth Shed will be open Mondays and Thursdays from 9am-5.30pm on holidays and 3.30pm-5.30pm on school days.

The shed is located at the ExcelCare Monto Neighbourhood Centre on 7 Huxley Street.


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