By BRIDGET COOK
A CRANBOURNE church has catered to the demand for youth support and suicide intervention programs in Casey by embarking on a large expansion this year.
Life! Central celebrated the official opening of stage-one of their redevelopment on Friday and shared with the community its vision for stages two and three.
The church currently runs five youth groups a week, catering to 200 young people, as well as facilitates a suicide intervention training program.
Chief executive officer Drew Gormlie said there was such a need for their services that they decided to move from the previous location and create a new venue.
“Stage-one was a complete renovation of the new venue, and a full audio and video set-up for our programs,” he said.
“Next year we hope to develop a full commercial cafe in that area which will provide an opportunity for displaced, disengaged and unemployed youths to work in.
“We will try and offer 12-month traineeships, so we can assist them to get back into the workforce.”
Mr Gormlie said stage-two works were already underway and involved building an outdoor alfresco area with park benches and tables and two big playgrounds.
Stage-three, which will kick off in March next year, will be the construction of an auditorium.
Mr Gormlie said the expansion was needed to cater for the demand for their services.
“One of the key issues for youths is not having anything to do,” he said.
“That’s what our youth programs are all about.
“We also needed a bigger training venue for our suicide intervention programs, which is recognised by the World Health Organisation.
“Since we started them, we have trained 348 people in suicide intervention.
“We hope to train 10,000 in the next three years so we desperately needed to move and expand out venue.”
Life! Central is now at 12 Arundel Street, Cranbourne.