DOCS shock closure of Dorrigo youth service

DORRIGO Youth Service is closing at the end of the month.

Youth worker Bill Devine said for 15 years the service had been helping kids in the town and now, due to the stroke of a bureaucratic pen, the support and its associated funding could be lost entirely.

The change is that Bellingen Council will not renew its auspice of the service. General manager, Mike Colreavy, said he requested the termination of the agreement because 'the council lacks capacity to properly manage the service'.

“My concern was this service is about the care of children, which needs to be done effectively - my structure doesn't have that capacity.

“We desire to see the service, which is fully funded by Department of Community Services, continue,” Mr Colreavy said.

“DOCS have said they are looking for another provider with greater capacity. I am confident the interruption will only be short-term. It is not the end of the service.”

Mr Devine said the news came as an enormous shock.

“I just got a phone call and a letter saying 'it's over'. Now I'm unemployed and there's nothing for the kids in the short-term,” Mr Devine said.

“This has been running for 15 years - how come the council closes it now that we have all our support services in place?”

Nambucca Valley Youth Services chairperson, Chris Hewgill, whose organisation works together with Dorrigo's service, said the Dorrigo service was excellent and had created a very youth-friendly environment over the years.

“Council needs to help Bill find another auspice,” Mr Hewgill said.

A response from DOCS regarding the search for another auspicing body had not been received by deadline.

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