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Innovation for the Territory’s Youth Services in COVID-19 Times

Office of the Chief Minister

The Territory Government has been working closely with youth service providers to be innovative and deliver adapted youth services, in response to COVID-19.

Youth services are important services and will continue to operate. However, operational changes had to be made to meet COVID-19 health sand physical distancing requirements.

In the lead-up to the April school holidays, regional approaches have been developed which include more outreach services, one-to-one mentoring, interactive online activities, and food programs to support at-risk young people and vulnerable families.

The Youth Outreach and Re-Engagement Team (YORET) will continue to operate across the Territory and work with young people who are at-risk or already in the youth justice system, to prevent crime before it happens and to stop reoffending.

Adapted youth services across the Territory include:


  • The Shak in Casuarina will continue to work as a youth hub, providing outreach support and online and digital programs
  • Youth service providers will engage with local young people and deliver one-on­-one outreach and mentoring opportunities
  • Provide online video gaming, music and sporting opportunities during April school holidays
  • Online webinars and workshops
  • Deliver pop-up food stalls and takeaway meals for young people during April school holidays
  • Provide online mental health support resources and interactive online ‘live’ connection
  • Access to City of Darwin Wi-Fi for outreach work

Alice Springs

  • Gap Youth & Community Centre will have no on-site youth programs. Instead, they will be providing 60 meals per day – 30 for families to collect, 30 to be delivered. They are also developing youth engagement options online through social media
  • Tangentyere’s Brown Street youth drop-in centre will remain open seven days a week but has been repurposed to provide meals to be collected and delivered to town camps. They are engaging in one-on-one mentoring and case management of young people
  • Tangentyere is looking into WiFi rollout in all town camps
  • A Youth Outreach Group has been established and meets twice weekly to share insights and collaborate
  • Youth service providers are engaging with young people through social media and developing engaging activities such as online Tik Tok competitions during April school holidays


  • The YMCA has closed for drop-in and group sessions but has undertaken external outreach and other support
  • The YMCA, Larrakia Nation and the Palmerston and Regional Basketball Association (PaRBA) have joined forces with local business Cazalys Palmerston to prepare 80 dinner meals every day for the next two weeks, to support at-risk young people and their families
  • City of Palmerston Art Jam during April school holidays
  • TikToK challenges (skills including basketball and dance) during April school holidays
  • Creative webinars with Amy Hetherington during April school holidays
  • Art Journaling Project during April school holidays


  • Katherine Youth Outreach and Transport Service run by Kalano Community Association will continue to operate Wednesday to Sunday
  • Return to country activities
  • Headspace Katherine are currently operating a combination of in-person, online and phone services
  • The Stars Foundation is preparing take home packs to hand out to their students around wellbeing, sanitary, and activities in lieu of face to face contact over the school holiday period
  • The YMCA is offering support to young people via telephone or by other media

Tennant Creek

  • Activity packs, including soap, safety messages and data credit will be delivered to town camps
  • Food hampers catering for up to eight people each will be delivered to town camps
  • DIY soap making and tie dye crafts which will include messaging around safety, health and hygiene during April school holidays
  • Food for young people in the parks during April school holidays

Quotes from Minister for Territory Families, Dale Wakefield

“Facing this health emergency means that we have had to be flexible and respond quickly to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of every single Territorian.

“COVID-19 regulations have required our youth services to change the way they operate and be innovative in how they now engage with young people. 

“What we have seen in the past few weeks is a resilient youth services sector that has worked incredibly hard to ensure that we continue the very important work of engaging with the Territory’s most at-risk and disadvantaged young people, while being compliant with new national regulations.

“I thank them for their hard work and their partnership with the Territory Government to deliver crucial youth services for young Territorians. We are all in this together.”


Media Contact: Paige Nguyen 0428 727 244