Freedom Centre is moving

As you may have seen in the past few months, Freedom Centre moving, and we’re excited to tell you where we’re moving and why!

 

We’ve moved five times in our 27 years and have been here on Brisbane Street for 12 years. Now, it's time for a new chapter.  

As you’ve seen in the past few months, FC is moving, and we’re excited to tell you where we’re moving and why! We’ve moved five times in our 27 years and have been here on Brisbane Street for 12 years. Now, it's time for a new chapter.  

  

Where are we going? 

FC will be relocating to 60A Frame Ct in Leederville (also known as HQ Leederville). Located right near Leederville Train Station, we are close to public transport, as well as other services. While we will be sharing the building with other services, FC will continue to operate independently. We are our own service and that’s not changing. Think of it like having neighbours who are there during the day and sometimes at night.  

 

A bit about the new space 

We know that many people don’t like change and that includes our visitors and team. However, we are dedicated to making this move and change as easy and smooth as possible for everyone. We will support you during the move and keep you all as updated and involved as possible moving forward.   

  

Our new space has three main rooms, office space and a quiet room dedicated to one-on-ones. Two of these rooms are permanently ours to do whatever we want and we will make them our own. The third space is a large gallery space that we will modify to our needs each session. Occasionally, we will be blessed with some art showing in the space, but it will always be available for our use. This will also give us space for more activities like: boardgames, Dungeons and Dragons, art and crafts, movie nights etc.  

 

The space will have all the same features you know and love currently, including books, games, gender neutral toilets, clothing, kitchen, food etc.  

 

As well as having new, clear Freedom Centre signs outside the building, we will be bringing along things like our posters, artwork, flags, and resources. We are going to do everything we can to ensure that the space still feels like it belongs to our visitors.  

 

The space may be changing but you’ll still be supported by the same team, and we are here for you the whole journey. We believe that what makes FC so special are the team and the environment, we’re moving with you, and we will all be going through this change together.  

Why are we moving? 

Our current building has been sold and it means we don’t get to extend our lease. That’s just the reality of renting spaces.  

 

By moving and sharing a building, this means we share some costs and we save money, which we can then direct to better support you. By sharing an existing space with a youth friendly org, we get to invest more money into staff and resources, while having access to even more resources close by! 

  

When are we moving?  

The initial move will be in January 2022. 

 

We are applying for funding to be able to run sessions at both the Leederville and Brisbane Street locations side by side until the end of February. We will let you know if we are successful in receiving the funding to do this! 

 

During the move, we will have some excursions to give people who attend FC the chance to check out the new space and say goodbye to the old one.  

What will the new Freedom Centre look like? 

We plan to keep the same opening hours and types of shifts, where possible. There's likely to be a few changes but we will be clear about that. 

 

We will continue all the same shifts you know and love as well as continuing our online shifts!  

 

Most of our sessions will be run at different times to the other services in the building, so we’ll be the only ones in the space during FC opening hours.   

 

Since we are sharing a space with other services, there will be the occasional clash. We are already working on plans to handle this. We will be very clear around which sessions are at the same time as any other service.  

 

We will work with the other services and our young people to find what is most comfortable. 

Creating our new home  

We want your ideas to help create this new space – if you want to be involved, please let a staff member know, they will also be running some workshops to get your ideas for how the new space will look as well as the excursions to the new location. We want as much community input as possible when it comes to putting together our new space, the space is for you and should also be designed with you. 

  

New opportunities  

This move opens up so many new possibilities and opportunities for Freedom Centre.  

 

Whilst we’re sad to say goodbye to our 6pm nightly Maccas runs, Leederville will have a wider variety and range of options available.  

 

These include: 

  • IGA 

  • Grill’d 

  • Zambrero 

  • Tutti Frutti 

  • San Churro’s 

  • Guzman y Gomez  

  • and so many more  

 

We will also have the opportunity and space to collaborate with other youth organisations, e.g. a low stim session.  

 

On top of this we will also have easier access to other services located in the building, including Centrelink, youth workers at The Y, and headspace.   

 

Our new home comes with an outdoor space too. It’s gated with fences and fully secure, perfect for a balmy night! It’s also something we haven’t gotten a chance to do before and so we are excited. 

 

This move also means we’ll save money on rent. This means more money to improve the space and get more resources like books, food, binders, stim toys, new furniture (goodbye disgusting old couches!!!). 

  

Accessibility  

The whole building and bathrooms are wheelchair accessible.  

 

As much as we will to miss the pounding basslines and shouting next door, the new space will be quieter. Most of our sessions will operate when nobody else is in the building. When there are gigs on in the venue, we will be very clear about this so you are aware of noise and any other possible concerns regarding the use of the gig space.   

 

Getting to Freedom Centre  

There are many great public transport options in the area, including the train station. We appreciate that for some people the transport options are not idea and we are looking into how we can best support you in getting to and from FC.  

 

We are also surrounded by a sea of car parks around the building. 

  

Safety  

Many of our young people express concerns about safety and shared spaces, especially around the possibility of being outed or recognised by other service users.  

 

To minimise this, the majority of our sessions will be run when we are the only group present on the premises. We will also be very clear about when a session may be held where other young people could be present.  

 

One of the benefits of sharing a building with other youth services is that people will not as easily know where you are attending. If you are worried about people knowing you attend FC, sharing space with other youth organisations and groups helps that.  

 

On top of this, all the other services also have a zero tolerance to harassment and bullying. Any reported incidents will be taken very seriously by the FC team.  

  

We have also heard your concerns regarding safety in the area at night. The skate park and the car park are both managed by the City of Vincent and we are in conversation with the Mayor around the relocation to ensure that the area is safe for all.  

 

We will continue to work with our young people to find out what is most comfortable for them and how we can make this easier and safer for all, this could include staff being present outside for opening and closing times.  

Concerns about the Y  

Our main neighbour at our new home at Leederville HQ is The Y.  

 

Many people have expressed their concerns about FC co-locating with The Y (formally known as the YMCA), and its history as a Christian organisation. These are valid concerns, and we want you to know that we’ve heard you and that we have taken them on board, especially considering the discrimination and trauma so many of us in the LGBTQIA+ community have experienced (and continue to experience) from religious organisations and individuals.  

 

When we expressed our concerns to The Y, they assured us of their commitment to inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ young people they already support and serve and their commitment to being better allies through their four key operational values - honesty, respect, responsibility and caring. 

 

We already have a positive history working with the Y in an LGBTQIA+ safe space. WAAC and FC worked with The Y on our LGBTQIA+ Wellbeing Workshops for all of 2021. For each workshop we had a WAAC staff member, an FC Peer Educator and a youth worker from The Y to engage with the young people who attended. We all have found The Y’s involvement to be greatly beneficial to the success of the workshops, especially as some of the youth workers are members of the LGBTQIA+ community themselves. 

 

Both the Freedom Centre and The Y staff are committed to making sure FC remains a safe space for young LGBTQIA+ people. This includes The Y staff attending our LGBTQIA+ training to further improve their skills and knowledge.  

 

You will also always have the support of the FC team; we take your concerns very seriously and want to reinforce that if these values aren’t upheld, we won’t ignore it. We are here to support you and to ensure our service is as safe and friendly to our visitors as possible.  

Creating safe spaces consultation

Prior to scouting new locations, WAAC and Freedom Centre engaged with Youth Pride Network (YPN) to consult with young people who engaged with Freedom Centre and other services, as well as stakeholders like PFLAG. This included in-person consultations, as well as online surveys. These were conducted during August 2021.

The report and the answers to the in-person and online survey will not be made publicly available. However, they are being used as a way for young people to have direct say over the relocation of the Freedom Centre. Within these considerations, six essential needs for a safe space were identified amongst responses.

What young people want in a space can be broken down into:

  1. Things that promote feelings of physical safety;

  2. Things that promote feelings of emotional safety/self regulation;

  3. Things that help with promoting a sense of identity;

  4. Things that empower them through education and skill building;

  5. Things that are fun and enjoyable; and

  6. The promotion of intersectionality and inclusion

Find out more information about the consultation here.

This new location is a trial

Finally, this is a trial run, so if the new location really doesn’t work out, we will be able to review things and try another location. However, we do need to give it enough time to determine if this is a compatible location for us, so please be patient with us.  

  

Feedback 

We anticipate many mixed feelings and questions about this move. We are always happy to provide more information to make the move easier for you.

 

If you have questions or concerns, please fill in the contact form below

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