ON FRIDAY of next week – 27 April – at 4.30pm South Gippsland Shire’s youngest councillor, Mimmie Jackson, will officially declare the Youth Assist Clinic in Foster open.
The event will provide an opportunity for the public to see the clinic rooms at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre and meet the staff. They include Dr Fran Grimes and clinic nurse Fiona Brown.
Michelle James, a year 11 student at South Gippsland Secondary College in Foster, will contribute her thoughts on why this medical service for young people is necessary. Michelle and fellow student Owen Cumming are foundation members of the committee which spent last year planning the clinic.
The clinic – entry is at the side of the hall – has been open for some weeks and client numbers have exceeded expectations. Clinic hours are 1.30 to 5.30pm Mondays (except public holidays) and no appointments are necessary.
Clinic nurse Fiona Brown says the casual ‘drop-in’ vibe seems to suit the target market of 10- to 25-year-olds.
“We have Durelle Lind, our adult volunteer, in the waiting area, ready to meet and greet visitors to the clinic. The young people are welcome to just hang out there and look at the pamphlets and posters with information on health, both physical and mental. There’s a TV/DVD player, Play Station, stereo, guitar, lollies, hot drinks and giveaways.”
Beyond the waiting room Fiona has her private consultation room and Dr Fran has another room.
The clinic opened in February at the start of the school year and there has been lots of interest already, particularly from school-age young people, though the clinic is open for anyone up to the age of 25 years.
The clinic, says Fiona, aims to provide good preventative health care. Staff refer clients onto specialists if necessary.
“South Gippsland Secondary College has been very supportive, as has the local Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank, which provided a very welcome funds boost,” says Fiona.
Highlights of Friday’s official opening will include a raffle, lucky dip, sausage sizzle and band music from various college ensembles, followed at 6pm by rock/reggae music from the seven-piece band ‘Salubrious.’ The band, the members of which are all aged under 25 years, will play from 6pm to 7pm.
There will also be the opportunity to contribute artwork to a banner which will be hung outside the hall on Monday afternoons to indicate the clinic is in session.
“Anyone is most welcome to come along to the official opening on Friday at 4.30,” says Fiona, adding: “We have had lots of positive feedback already. We find kids are happy to make return visits to the clinic and bring their friends.”
Any suggestions as to how to improve the service would be appreciated. There’s a suggestion box at the clinic or go to the links below.