Warrnambool’s Foyer celebrated it’s fifth anniversary with a beach party for current and former residents on Wednesday.
The Foyer has provided accommodation and support to 77 young south-west residents aged between 16 and 25 reside at its Raglan Parade site since it first opened in February 2013.
The Foyer provides safe, secure accommodation for young people while they undertake education, employment and/or training.
Manager Jenny Hand said it was staffed 24/7 to provide support in developing independent living skills to assist the young people to transition into independent living.
“We know that the Foyer is based on a successful model,” she said.
“It’s the idea of providing accommodation and support while people complete their education. It’s an evidence-based project.
“Over the time we have built relationships with South West TAFE and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. We continue to focus on the education aspect.”
Current resident Chloe Porter, 19, is completing the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) at TAFE.
She came to Warrnambool from Melbourne and said the Foyer had provided her with many opportunities.
“I’ve made heaps of new friends and I’m looking for a job,” she said.
“Foyer have helped me with my resume. They’ve been a great help. It is very inclusive and friendly.”
Former resident Michael Tickner was one of the very first people to stay at the Foyer.
“It was a new environment, not just for me but for everyone,” he said.
“I stayed for about one-and-a-half-years.
“I’ve learnt more social skills and I’ve been out and about socialising.
“I also made new friends. One thing that Jenny has helped me with is getting an education and a job.”
Ms Hand said students from all Warrnambool secondary schools had resided at the Foyer at various times.
All residents of the Foyer complete a Certificate 1 in Developing Independence through a partnership with South West TAFE.
Some of the original residents attended the five year celebration.
Of the 62 young people that have transitioned from the Foyer, 26 have secured private rental and 20 have returned to live with family or friends.
There are currently 15 residents living at the Foyer.
While living at there, some young people have been successful in getting their L or P plates and are often assisted by the L to P program.
Others have participated in their respective schools debutante balls, completed Responsible Service of Alcohol and First Aid Certificates and other courses and qualifications.
The Foyer model of support and accommodation originated in France after World War II, with Brophy Family and Youth Services successfully tendering to build and operate a Foyer in partnership with Barwon Child Youth and Families, South West TAFE and other local organisations.