Winner

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

NICOLE TOWNSEND

Nicole has almost 30 years experience working in the ACT Youth Sector and is currently the coordinator of Canberra Youth Residential Service (CYRS) which provides young people in the ACT with Crisis Accommodation and Support. Nicole has held this position for the past 12 years. Nicole’s previous roles include working at Belconnen Youth Centre, Civic Youth Centre, and Gungahlin Regional Community Services. Not only is Nicole a Youth Sector Worker she is also a teacher of Youth Work at the CIT and has been for the past 11 years. Nicole is able to share her wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise to upcoming sector workers. Nicole is a strong advocate for young people in the ACT and is involved in many working groups, attends forums and liaises with government agencies on sector improvements and development.

Nicole is very well known in the Youth Sector. She is respected by many of her peers and is known as one of the “OG’S” (Originals) of the ACT Youth Sector. Nicole has continued to devote her career in being a voice to the young people of Canberra. One of Nicole’s career achievements was in the late 1990’s securing funding for The Warehouse Club which was an after school Care and Vacation Care Program for young people with Mild to Moderate Intellectual Disabilities. The program was based in a mainstream youth centre setting were everyone felt inclusive. The success of The Warehouse Club enabled the Belconnen Youth Centre to secure funding for the Links For Life Program which provided a life skills program for young people who had mild intellectual disabilities. Another career achievement was being able to support the Bit Bent program with a safe environment. The program was first established when some members of the community came and spoke with Nicole about the lack of support groups available for young people from the LGTBIQ+ community.

Being coordinator of a service that is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year can be challenging but Nicole has remained devoted in providing an outstanding service to homeless youth. Her staff say she is an excellent manager great sense of humor, but has also been a mentor to countless people in the youth sector. Nicole is very deserving of being recognised for her commitment and dedication to changing the lives of young people in the Canberra.

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