BRINGING YOUTH TOGETHER: Jennifer Parke from Youth Connections, Lizette Twisleton from The Lismore City Council, Brenda Abanavas from the Intel Computer Club Network (USA), George Mudford and Teddi Brice from Youth Connections.
BRINGING YOUTH TOGETHER: Jennifer Parke from Youth Connections, Lizette Twisleton from The Lismore City Council, Brenda Abanavas from the Intel Computer Club Network (USA), George Mudford and Teddi Brice from Youth Connections. Patrick Gorbunovs

Plan for digital design studio to let youth build skills

A FREE digital design studio where young people can develop their skills in technology and the arts is being considered as a feature of the Goonellabah Community Hub project.

The project's organisers are hoping to join the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, a worldwide chain of technology-focused clubhouses designed for kids in socially disadvantaged communities.

The network was founded out of Boston's Museum of Science, in part thanks to seed funding from the Intel Foundation in 1993, and has gone on to launch more than 100 clubhouses globally.

It aims to create a safe and creative out-of-school learning environment where young people can engage with computers to explore their own ideas.

Yesterday, Intel Computer Clubhouse Network program manager Brenda Abanavas paid a whirlwind visit to the planned hub site on Rous Rd and met with staff from Youth Connections North Coast and Lismore City Council.

Ms Abanavas said the clubhouse network could provide young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to experiment with technology on their own terms.

"Young people from under-served communities are primarily cut off from having access to 21st century skills that are going to make them viable for employment or further education," Ms Abanavas said.

"We use technology as a way of attracting and getting young people's attention; ultimately what we care most about is what kind of people they become as a result of being a part of this."

Young people using the clubhouses also have the opportunity to receive scholarships for higher education.

Youth Connections North Coast general manager George Mudford said the local community would benefit greatly from the network's established expertise.

"Because it's been operating so long, it's a sophisticated and detailed program," he said.

"I think the young people feel part of something bigger - they can share their work and interact with clubhouses around the world."

The Hub is still in the planning stages and is a collaborative effort between Youth Connections, Meridian Health Care, and Lismore City Council.

Mr Mudford said he was hoping the development application for the site would be lodged early in the new year.


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