13 December, 2021
Farewelling the Oakey Youth Project
After three years, over 200 programs and an estimated almost 9,000 engagements, the Oakey Youth Project is finishing at the end of this year with many of the individual programs set to continue through other organisations and additional grant funding.
One element of the Oakey Youth Project which will not be continuing into 2022 is facilitator Julie Cave who will finish her role in the local community from December this year.
Ms Cave said she is thankful for the support and assistance from over 50 project partners based in Oakey and the Darling Downs.
“It has been such an amazing journey and it has been a real privilege for me to have this job and to be the one to work with the community and plant some seeds in the community,” she said.
“When I was doing a reflection on some of the programs that stood out for me, it’s hard because they have all had an amazing impact in varied ways and they have all provided a different engagement opportunity that have covered a wide variety of issues.”
“I have enjoyed it and I will leave a part of my heart in Oakey, I can’t pretend I won’t. I’m looking forward to hearing what is ahead for Oakey.”
Ms Cave thanked several local organisations and groups for their work with the project from the Oakey Chamber of Commerce to the CWA Oakey branch, Oakey Aquatic Centre, Oakey Wellness Committee, Coops QLD and the PCYC.
Toowoomba Regional Councillor Geoff McDonald said the collaboration between community groups and services has made the Oakey Youth Project a success.
He said the level of engagement and successes within the individual programs and activities is credit to the hard work for these groups and project leader, Ms Cave.
"When I first met Julie it was all about making sure that when she left she left the community in a better space. I honestly believe she has done that,” Cr McDonald said.
“The collaboration of the community in coming together is great.
“There is some wonderful legacies that Julie has left [at Oakey] in her time.
“It is with sadness that we say farewell to the program but not farewell to the legacy that [Julie] has left.”
THE FUTURE OF YOUTH PROJECT PROGRAMS
The Oakey Youth Project has been responsible for running or funding several programs and activities in Oakey, such as Friday Night Live, Summer Splash series, Certificate 1 in Construction, Box Off the Streets (later known as Oakey Box Out), Dis/Connect Zine and Art Trail, From the Ground Up development program and others.
Some of these were short-term and other were ongoing.
With the project finishing, the future is uncertain for some of these activities.
PCYC Toowoomba and facilitator Kat Medland have taken over much of the project, including the Oakey Box Out program and other initiatives connected to the Oakey State High School.
Not-for-profit organisation, Busy at Work, who was part of the first Certificate 1 on Construction program held at Oakey have received funding to run another course in the community next year.
There are currently grant applications and other funding talks underway to continue the Friday Night Live program past December 2021.