1986-1990- Gosford Youth Services was formed in 1986. In1989 the service consisted of one-part time youth worker providing support to the new housing estate in Kariong.
Gosford City Youth Services was set up with funds from the NSW Government in 1986. Sandra Braithwaite oversaw the start of the project in her role of Youth Development Officer with Gosford City Council. Sally Jope was employed with Youth Worker Malcolm and started engaging with young people 12-18 years at Kariong and Kincumber. At Kariong they met in the hall on the grounds of the then Mt Penang Juvenile Justice centre and in Kincumber they met in the cottage that was the community centre. Providing weekly drop in centres at both places and additional excursions and events with young people.
By 1993 GYS was operating new, permanent youth centres in Wyoming and Kincumber, and in June of that year began a youth coffee shop at Kincumber centre. During the early 1990's GYS was very active in juvenile crime prevention, operating a valuable discussion group for truants, as well as providing several arts workshops and programs in Kariong, Wyoming and Kincumber. A new venture begun with GYS support of Wyong-Gosford Youth Radio which also served as base for the youth group meetings. Programs Actors With Attitude, Memories Music Magic, Youth Radio, Youth Newspaper, Young Actors, Youth Coffee Shop, Out of the night & into the light Graffiti Project, Visual Art Classes.
In 1989 GYS initiated NSW first mobile youth centre targeting geographically isolated families. The mobile Youth centre project ran drop in sessions from Kariong radio shack, Springfield Primary School, The Ronald Ave church hall, and Wyoming and Kincumber neighbourhood centre. The groups were established to take services to young people where they were and set the scene for establishing permanent youth facilities.
In 1993 Kim McLoughry was employed as the first Wyoming Youth Centre Coordinator, and worked with three staff in GYS Donnison Street Gosford office and Kincumber Youth Centre.
In 1996 GYS established a youth cafe, The Labyrinth, in Gosford CBD as well as setting up a new 'shop front' youth service access point in the same building. Thanks to the support of St George Foundation and several other new partners-including numerous local Rotary clubs and the Inspire Foundation. The Labyrinth provided a free, readily accessible and independent space for young people in Gosford for over three years. The space not only created a social space but also a venue for art events, poetry readings, live music performances and visual art exhibitions. The Labyrinth in Gosford CBD created a culture for Gosford Youth and created innovative projects that combatted youth issues.
In 1998 Gosford Youth Services became Regional Youth Support Services Inc reflecting the increasingly broad range of services offered and the widening geographical distribution of the communities benefiting from our services. By this time the success of The Labyrinth as a youth cafe and the parallel success of the youth programs being offered contributed to RYSS developing the concepts of a youth-run business enterprise (in the form of a restaurant) and a standalone multi-purpose youth facility.
1999 - 2001 Donnison's on the Park provided industry training and jobs for young people. The further development of a potential youth business was facilitated in 1999 by RYSS and ET Australia forming a partnership to bid for the breakthrough' funds offered by the Foundation for Young Australians. This secured $250,000 over 4 years to set up the restaurant. Through consultation with the Gosford Chamber of Commerce a likely venue was identified in the vintage Kibble Park Tea Rooms in Gosford CBD, a building owned by Gosford City Council. With Council's support, 'Donnison's on the Park' opened in 2002, employing 3 casuals and 3 permanent full-time staff, all aged under 25. Over 150 people worked at the restaurant in it's 5 years of operation.
In 2001 Gosford City Council purchased the Parkside Centre, a defunct shopping centre in the heart of Gosford CBD, to provide a base for the multi-purpose youth services facility. Parkside now houses six youth service providers including RYSS, ET Australia, Vertico Traineeships, After Care Resource Centre, Relationships Australia, Options Disability Services and ET Australia Secondary College with an upper level warehouse space converted by RYSS in 2007 into the Youth Arts Warehouse. In 2007 the shadow spokesman for the Arts Peter Garrett joined Federal Member for Robertson, Jim Lloyd, Minister for Central Coast, Grant McBride and Gosford City Mayor Laurie Maher at the official opening of The Youth Arts Warehouse. Five years and $500,000 in the making, the dream of having a Multi Art facility for young people was realised.
2011 - 2016 Since the purchase and development of Parkside, RYSS has continued to provide innovative and effective programs for young people on the Central Coast across a broad range of fields. RYSS today has a CEO position and an Operations Manager, five Team Leader/Co-ordinator positions- Abilities, Early Intervention Placement Prevention Program, Indigenous Justice Program, Wyoming Youth Centre and The Youth Arts Warehouse Coordinator. Wyoming Youth Centre opened the Woodshed and transferred from a drop in centre to a Skills based centre in 2015. RYSS now is a larger support team of twelve permanent staff and twenty five casual/part time staff. In 2016 RYSS went full circle and in December 2016 launched it’s first mobile youth centre since the early day's in the form of a full size transit bus.
The last thirty three years of Regional Youth Support Services Inc has been an amazing journey. The innovation will continue with a great team of staff and volunteers and enormous community support for this worthy suite of services. Partnerships will continue to evolve and new programs are under development based on the vast knowledge and skills held at RYSS. The launch of the BUS project- a full sized transit Bus equipped as a child, youth and family mobile centre is significant in moving the agency and our partnerships forward. The Bus (Together Helping Everyone Better Utilise Services) project takes our partnerships and RYSS services on the road and will be a high profile signature project for our agency.