Uniting Hearts Award for Working with Young People

Award winner Nicolle FIelding and Niki Gill from Uniting.


COFFS Harbour Uniting Living Skills, Employment and Education Mentor Nicolle Fielding has won a Uniting With Heart Award for her work with young people.

The awards demonstrate how much Uniting they value their staff for being at the heart of everything they do.

Nicolle was nominated by a co-worker for going above and beyond their role.

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Ms Fielding said, “Uniting’s people are achieving some inspiring things during this unprecedented time and it’s important to recognise it!”

The 2020 awards were Uniting’s most successful year yet, receiving 1,348 nominations across the nine award categories.

“I was a finalist who went on to win the award in the BOLD category.

“I was recognised for the work I do as a mentor in the Premiers Youth Initiative (PYI).

“My nomination focussed on my strong advocacy around ensuring my young people receive all the support needed now and into the future,” she told News of The Area.

The Premier’s Youth initiative is a program which supports young people who have grown up in Out of Home Care and are at risk of homelessness once they reach 18 years of age.

PYI works with young people from 18 to 21 years of age assisting and coaching them during their transition from care to independent living.

PYI was a pilot program which started three years ago and has just been extended by another three years.

“On the North Coast PYI is a group of nine extremely passionate and dedicated people who have extensive experience working with today’s youth,” Ms Fielding explained.

“Their region covers from Tweed Heads to Port Macquarie and they have 40 young people in their program.”

The team consists of personal advisors, living skills, employment and education mentors and a tenancy and lease hold manager, who are all supported by team manager Niki Gill.

The goal of the program is for each of the young people to be living independently in stable and sustainable accommodation which is within their own budget.

This includes the private rental market which the young people are taught and assisted through the process of applying for and maintaining long term lease agreements.

The young people are also working or studying.

“I absolutely love my job and the team I work with.

“I get to see the young people right through into adulthood and out into the real world.

“I get to show them that they are able and worthy of living a successful, fulfilling and healthy lifestyle despite their unfortunate pasts.

“Watching their self-perception change from victim to warrior makes my heart swell,” she said.


By Sandra MOON

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