A permanent drop-in space for your people has been secured in Lithgow.
Anna Carter, the director of the mental health awareness festival Subliminal, announced on Monday, April 18, that 172 Main Street would be open to youth from 3-8pm every day until the end of April.
From then on the space will be open every Tuesday and Friday night indefinitely.
“Two groups are coming from the mountains to offer health services, Mountains Youth Services Team and Kirinari, and they are opening a space for youth with disabilities called Me3 in May, we just came in as icing on the cake,” Ms Carter said.
“They said we could use the space every night up until then, we are very, very fortunate.”
Lithgow’s Youth Hang Out Centre has its opening night on Tuesday, April 18, from 3pm onwards. For the next fortnight the space will be open every night.
“I hope it provides some routine, as a lot of young people don’t have the money to spend on activities and restaurants, it will just provide a place to hang out with friends,” Ms Carter said.
On Tuesday night Cartoonist Matthew Lin will be teaching a class on drawing dragons, fantasy characters, tattoos and skulls. Pizza has been donated for the night by Lithgow Dominos.
The space at 172 Main Street, previously a Department of Housing office, has been decked out with a foosball table, couches and pot plants. It also contains a homework bench and kitchen.
Ms Carter aims to keep the hangout space running for two nights a week indefinitely, also providing dinner to those using the space.
“Tuesday nights are cheapest for pizza vendors in the area and then on Friday night we are going to run a cooking class.”
“It means we are giving young people space and we feed them. These are two essentials that create stability in a person, somewhere they are warm and can be fed.”
Ms Carter furnished the space with donated furniture and has had many offers of support from locals.
“It’s all starting to come together. I can only do what I can do, but other things happen and things begin to weave together to bring results.
“It’s just people giving what they can. Small steps the community can get involved in,” Ms Carter said.
The Phillips family have been opening their bookstore each Thursday evening from 5-8pm, to provide an interim hang out space.
“We just thought we’d provide our store as a lead into when Anna gets the space to generate interest and get people talking about it,” Paul Phillips said.
“Depending on how it goes we might keep it running until the end of winter, because it’s a down period of the year.”
Subliminal Festival is also hosting a metal concert at the Union Theatre on Saturday, April 22, to raise awareness of the mental health challenges young people face in Lithgow and surrounding communities.
Musician Tyson Kerr of the headlining band, Kings at Heart, said he felt honoured to perform in the name of bettering mental health.
“I have seen the effects of mental illness first hand and know that this is a serious issue. That needs to be broadcast to the world in any way possible,” Mr Kerr said.
“Being granted the option to play this show, we lunged at the opportunity. We feel so strongly about this matter and the way it can change lives.”