Youth service ‘making magic’ happen

Youth service ‘making magic’ happen

Deception Bay Community Youth Programs is taking the region to the world.

When the onset of COVID-19 hit, the centre was forced to find new ways to continue delivering programs and services – and discovered DBCYP could not only survive the pandemic, but it could thrive.

As the winner of the Building a Stronger Community award at the 2019 Moreton Bay Region Business Excellence and Innovation Awards, DBCYP is no stranger to delivering top-notch community services and was committed to not missing a beat because of a pandemic.

Creative thinking

Directors Jennie Drever and Janine Botfield say the creative thinking that was the hallmark of their COVID-19 response has had lasting benefits and led to the development of programs that can not only be delivered in Deception Bay, but other communities too.

“Immediately in March we put staff on two weeks’ notice for home work, and participants on one week’s notice,” Janine says.

“We thought `what can we pivot’ to continue to deliver as seamlessly as we can using cloud-based platforms.

“We were thinking very strategically about opportunities – what can we get out of this.”

Parenting programs go online

Jennie says the transition to web-based delivery was easier than expected.

“When you’re in crisis, it causes you to be creative,” she says.

“We ran parenting programs online – we would not have attempted that if it was not for COVID and now we do both online and in person.

“The DBay Families Facebook page developed craft packs with the neighbourhood centre that were delivered to the community – that was a nice example of how we were able to have in-depth engagement.

“We’re still having events and playgroups but they’re so much richer.”

Digital youth work

Janine says forcing services online has allowed DBCYP to try delivery methods the service had discussed but had not had the opportunity to test.

“I think the interesting thing is that we were looking at things like digital youth work, which Europe has been doing for years.

“We’re now using platforms that young people migrate to naturally.

“Digital engagement is a huge thing and it’s about how we can meet people in different spaces.”

Sustainable future

Janine says the centre will reap the benefits of what it has learnt for years to come.

“There’s stuff that we did in COVID that will now let us grow.

“We couldn’t sustain ourselves as an organisation that was grant-based and now we can deliver services that are transferrable.

“For example, we could sell online parenting to Caloundra and then they take over the delivery, tailoring it to their market.

“That’s the magic of what we are doing – bringing the world to Deception Bay and taking Deception Bay to the world.”

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