The Melbourne Chatterbox operates three nights a week in Melbourne's CBD and inner suburbs. The service is manned by a team of volunteers headed up by Open Family Australia's Volunteer Coordinator and The Chatterbox Volunteer Committee. The service has been operational in Melbourne since 2002 and is proudly supported by Cabrini Health and PFD Foods.
The Chatterbox provides a variety of services to street frequenting young people, linking them to the services they require as well as providing basic material aid in food, clothing and health supplies. There is also wireless internet facilities, computers and a separate space to enable volunteers to quietly counsel and engage with young people. Many of the young people are attracted to the Melbourne CBD as it is a focal point for entertainment and a means to escape their problems. Problems include family breakdown, unemployment, drug and alcohol use and abuse. Young people may be involved in commercial sex work, struggling with drug issues, sleeping rough and/or in constant need of food or material aid.
Through this service, Open Family Australia is able to participate in a series of trials and research including a focus on public space issues for street frequenting young people. Chatterbox is a vital link between Open Family Australia and young people who frequent the streets after hours. The volunteers are the backbone of the bus, and it is their commitment that makes this service so successful. Funding is important to ensure that this service continues to operate, and with more funding Open Family Australia could extend the service over more nights and into other inner city regions.
Cabrini Health and philanthropic Trusts generously support the Melbourne Chatterbox Bus and more recently, we welcomed the Property Industry Foundation in Victoria. Thank you to all our supporters.
To find out how your donation could assist this service, please contact Open Family Australia on 1300 669 600.