Vicinity’s Grand Plaza shopping centre in Queensland has historically observed loitering and anti-social behaviour by local youth. Previous approaches focused on immediate security responses had not been effective in reducing longer-term anti-social behaviour.
Since late 2017, the centre has undertaken a number of initiatives designed to promote a more balanced and community-focused approach to dealing with troublesome youth, in collaboration with various local stakeholders. These have included:
Inviting Maori elders to the centre to have informal talks with Maori youth known to cause issues at the centre, and with security personnel to share insights on preventing future incidents;
Centre management staff meeting with security personnel and the local police regularly to discuss strategies to deal with crime;
The Centre’s security manager attends monthly meetings with community groups and schools to keep abreast of programs to which local youth can be referred.
During FY20, the centre partnered with the not-for-profit Yourtown to deliver an interactive and educational YOUth Matter program, aimed at improving engagement of and support to young people accessing the centre.
The nine-week program tailors to individuals engaged in the program and provides access to core life skills and personal development workshops. Community guest speakers, including centre management representatives and retailers, address the group to build young people’s connection to local opportunities and support services. Participating youth are also supported by a case manager throughout the program and beyond.
To date, Grand Plaza has seen 17 young people successfully complete the program with three participants finding employment (one with a retailer at the Centre) and one reengaging at school. Additionally, the centre hosted an Indigenous school-based trainee at the centre management office, providing them with exposure to a wide range of centre management functions, including operations, marketing, leasing, and customer service.
Vicinity is now looking at ways to roll out the program with Yourtown at our other centres across our portfolio.