Media Release: Youth Insearch Supports Gippsland East Youth Project | Youth Insearch


Wed, 03/08/2022 - 17:51


Newsletter, Stories, Partners, Funding

Gippsland East Youth Project sees local organisations band together to support youth in overcoming trauma and creating their own better future. Following a successful Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grant submission, several local services are driving forward to deliver the Gippsland East Youth Project (GEYP).  The project is dedicated to supporting young people aged 12-25 who live, study and work in Wellington and East Gippsland to overcome trauma and create their own better future.


Led by Latrobe Youth Space Inc. in collaboration with 18 other partners, the project has been made possible through a two-year commitment from the Federal Government in response to the Black Summer bushfires. The focus is on youth-led and adult-guided programs that directly meet the needs of local young people as determined by them, and respond to the gaps of support currently available in the rural and regional settings.


Skilled staff with a background in community development, capacity building and youth engagement will coordinate and facilitate the program of activities on offer in each location. Now in the recruitment phase of the project, the GEYP is encouraging local members of the community to apply. Building a team who understands on a personal level the immense challenges that people have faced is a crucial part of the project.


Toby Leeds is Program Coordinator for GEYP and speaks to his hopes for the project:


“Having grown up in Briagolong, I’m very familiar with how the smaller communities can often miss out when it comes to opportunities for young people and having their needs seen. It’s an exciting prospect that the Federal Government is recognising the challenges that the rural communities have faced, especially due to bushfires and COVID, noting that there has been a lot of community engagement missing over this period.


“Providing Gippsland Youth’s skilled youth workers an opportunity to work in collaboration with the communities of Wellington and East Gippy gives us an incredible chance to engage and empower the youth of these regions and to provide a direct source of connection to professional services – or simply a safe space for them to hang out. Through building capacity and skills in young people right where they live, our hope is that this will only foster a stronger and more connected community for all to be a part of,” Leeds continued.


The Gippsland East Youth Project is an inclusive and, importantly, fun experience for young people. Services will be delivered by two minibuses equipped with a range of resources from BBQs and beanbags to sports equipment, allowing the project to travel to youth in need.


Services will be complemented by a dedicated Youth Support Worker from Youth Insearch, whose role it will be to provide individualised support to the young people in the region. Liz Coward, Youth Insearch Social Worker, speaks to the new project:


"Young people are amazingly resilient, as we have seen over the past 2.5 years since the Black Summer fires and outbreak of COVID-19. Some young people though need additional support and encouragement to tap into the strength they need to live their best lives.


“Factors such as isolation, bullying, family breakdown, mental health concerns, substance misuse and sexuality make life challenging for many young people to navigate. Couple these issues with the trauma of going through the Black Summer bushfires and COVID-19 and many of these young people are left feeling alone and at breaking point.


“Youth Insearch gives young people a ray of hope that things can improve for them and their communities. Youth Insearch brings young people together – it shows them that they are not alone. They can come together with other young people and, with the support and guidance of caring, trained, young leaders and adults, work towards their best life," Coward added.


The Gippsland East Youth Project will build on the successful model in the Latrobe Valley and operate alongside Shire and Bushfire Recovery Victoria on locally based recovery work. It is the aim of Gippsland Youth to only work alongside Community Recovery Committees and organisations who have local knowledge and experience in working with, and for, young people in their community.




Media contact: Dasha Romanowski | 0416 144 959 |


About Latrobe Youth Space Inc.

Trading as Gippsland Youth in East Gippsland, is a youth-led adult guided initiative that endeavours to empower the young people of Gippsland. The youth space provides activities and services that help grow skills and experiences and lead to new opportunities.


About Youth Insearch

Youth Insearch is Australia’s most effective peer-led youth trauma recovery organisation. Since its establishment in 1985, it has supported 32,000 at-risk youth to overcome their trauma. Youth Insearch’s purpose is to empower young people to take control of their lives and play a positive role in society. To achieve this, their proven program addresses disadvantaged youths’ underlying mental and social challenges to overcome their trauma and reconnect with services and society.