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Warren Welsh: Westfield Local Heroes 2018

Warren helps young people, one success story at a time

Warren Welsh’s mission in life is to help young homeless and at-risk people become the best versions of themselves they can be.

For the past 20 years, he has been running the Burdekin Association’s youth housing program, which provides supported accommodation to people aged 16 to 24 years.

The program on Sydney’s northern beaches has been turning young lives around by not only offering a much-needed roof but also guidance and support.

“A lot of the kids we work with have come from a background of trauma, so they are very much behind the eight ball,” says Warren.

“For us it’s about evening up that playing field a little.”

The organisation takes a holistic approach with the more than 200 children and young adults it helps every year.

A typical case involves empathetically helping a client through a crisis and then giving direct support and referrals to help them find safe, secure and affordable housing. Following this, Warren and his team work closely with the client and help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to get back on track with their life.

“We’ve got so many great stories and successes,” Warren says.

“We’ve had kids come through these doors who have gone on to have careers as teachers, managers, nurses, dental technologists, recognised chefs and real estate agents.”

Warren says he’s deeply humbled and grateful to be a Westfield Local Hero, which marks more than 25 years of supporting young people on the northern beaches.

Burdekin Association will use its $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant to teach young people life skills such as budgeting, food preparation and emotional resilience.

The money will also be used to train staff, teach people how to be good tenants and buy white goods to help them set up their home.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.

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