Bunker closes

The Armadale Youth Centre doors will close for good.
The Armadale Youth Centre doors will close for good.

The youth centre, commonly known as The Bunker, operates as part of Armadale Youth Resources (AYR), a community-based, not-for-profit organisation established in 1989 to provide a place for young people to socialise in a safe, friendly and supportive environment.

Thousands of young people, aged 10 to 18, from all walks of life have flocked through the doors of The Bunker on Jull Street to take part in a host of educational programs, including outdoors sports, music, arts and youth counselling and support services.

The programs were designed to prevent young people from engaging in anti-social behaviour and provide them with a positive outlet.

But last week the doors to The Bunker were shut after funding finally dried up.

Hope Community Services took over AYR two years ago to assist with operational costs.

After recurrent funding was lost, Hope Community Services provided AYR with grants it obtained primarily from the State Government and City of Armadale and through some of its own money.

AYR had ongoing partnership agreements with other non-|government organisations, including Save the Children and Midnight Basketball.

The last bit of funding for The Bunker came to an end in March.

Hope Community Services chief executive Debra Zanella said the organisation shared the community’s disappointment with the closure of the AYR program.

But it was committed to providing services to at-risk youth in the City of Armadale, as it did with programs such as the Street Vans and the Youth Bail Options house.

‘We will continue to explore opportunities to provide services in the youth space where there is a need and look forward to building on our strong partnerships with other local NGOs,’ she said.

City of Armadale Mayor Henry Zelones said the City provided $27,800 to Hope Community Services through the City’s Annual Contributions program.

He said City officers would work with Hope Community Services and other youth organisations to provide services in Armadale.

It is not known if other AYR programs will continue despite the closure of The Bunker.

Armadale Youth Resources (AYR), which has closed after 25 years, was originally funded by the State’s Juvenile Justice Department to supervise young offenders’ community service orders.

Its longest-serving manager Christine Barrett came on board in 1997, and changed the model to one of early intervention.

With two full-time and two part-time staff, AYR carried out most school and community-based programs in the City of Armadale.

AYR joined Hope Community Services two years ago.