BackTrack youth hub coming to Tenterfield

BackTrack Youth Works.
BackTrack Youth Works.

Youth charity Sony Foundation is backing BackTrack Youth Works programs in Tenterfield and Macksville to the tune of $450,000. They're among five communities the foundation has identified as needing support in the wake of bushfires -- along with Eden, Ulladulla and Mallacoota -- for a total contribution of $770,000.

BackTrack Youth Works will build youth sanctuaries and deliver a youth resilience program that will include bushfire recovery work and training in the communities.

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Bernie Shakeshaft, founder and CEO of the Armidale-based BackTrack, said its youth development charity had been working for 15 years with young people in regional areas who've faced tough times, but never something like this.

"We knew following the Black Summer fires there would be many young people hurting. Bringing the BackTrack program to young people in these areas can give them a sense of purpose and hope, by enabling them to be a part of the recovery solution, both for themselves and the community."

Community-led and tailored to the needs of these young people, the programs will focus on supporting youth engagement like job skills, music therapy and coding workshops. These communities will also benefit from innovative youth sanctuaries, some made from shipping containers inspired by the Christchurch Re-Start Mall, that will provide vibrant spaces where young people can socialise, learn new skills, access free support services and participate in music and fun diversionary activities to keep connected.

Tenterfield youth will also benefit from a Bushfire Resilience Tour and music youth therapy workshops to be held here and in the other centres.

$530,000 of the total funds came from sales of the Artists Unite for Fire Fight: Concert for National Bushfire Reliefcharity album, which remains available for purchase with all proceeds going to Sony Foundation's Bushfire Appeal.

To purchase the album, visit https://smarturl.it/FireFightAlbum, or donate to Sony Foundation Australia's bushfire relief appeal at www.sonyfoundation.org/bushfireappeal.