Mansfield youth staying connected
Posted February 08, 2016
Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (13:36): It is with great delight that I tell colleagues about Cafe Connect in the beautiful town of Mansfield. I begin by congratulating the youth leadership team—Ariena, Shana, Taylah, Bradley, Grace, Jai, Peggy, Charlotte, Jordan and Ashley; the committee of management; John Collyer; Mansfield Shire and executive team; and the mayor, Paul Sladdin. Since being elected I have visited the cafe on several occasions and I have always received a very warm welcome. I have been met by a committed group of young people who have had plenty of pride in showing me around their 'home' and passionately telling me about the benefits of their special place.
Cafe Connect opened in 2001 with the help of federal government funding. It has been involved in festivals and events, hosted popular Friday night barbecues, provided free internet access and games, and allowed young musicians to perform and record. By 2010 the cafe was attracting more than 800 visits every month, with young people flocking in to socialise and hang out. The decision was taken to move to a bigger venue and finally it has happened. The new space builds on the cafe's history. It now gives young people the opportunity to undertake training, have meetings, watch movies, cook up a feast, hold pool tournaments and even get into gardening. As the community gathers to open the new building, I send them my warm congratulations on the success of Cafe Connect. It really is a place where connections are made. Well done, and congratulations Mansfield.