A commitment to youth and community in the Bellingen Shire

Published on 03 August 2022


The Bellingen Shire Youth HUB, or the HUB as it’s known, is arguably one of the busiest community facilities in our shire, and annually the HUB engages with more than 80 community organisations, hosts over 1,000 events, and attracts more than 14,000 guests.

For over 10 years Dean Besley has worked tirelessly alongside a Management Committee, to coordinate the operations of The HUB which provides in- kind support to a suite of social, cultural, and artistic programs. But now it is time for Dean to redirect his focus and embark on new challenges, knowing that a community legacy is now alive and thriving.

In line with the Bellingen Shire Community Vision, The Hub demonstrates a commitment to providing outcomes that ensure our young people are valued, involved, and supported with access to programs, services, activities, and resources that enhance their wellbeing.

It’s a testament to Dean’s leadership and guidance that the HUB has become a trusted and valued community resource that is regularly accessed by youth, young adults and families seeking support, advice, inspirational guidance, and resources and sometimes simply somewhere to laugh, cry, create and play.

The HUB’s program of activities boasts a suite of initiatives including the Bello Youth Clinic, which provides free weekly access to doctors, youth workers and mental health specialists and the HUB’s own Learner Driver Support Program, which provides free driving supervision in a community car to help under 25’s accumulate supervised hours and enhance their driving skills, and many more activities.

The HUB has also delivered some remarkable metrics of success with instances of anti-social behaviour at an all-time low, and glowing endorsements from local police, juvenile justice and youth service providers confirming the positive impact the HUB’s youth engagement activities have had in the reduction of youth crime rates since its inception.

There’s no doubt the past 2 years have been challenging, however in the face of adversity and in a localised response to the global pandemic crisis, the Hub continued to provide direct support services four days a week and phone/online crisis support services to our community, transforming the space into a response call centre and centralised network hub for our community efforts, and is our intention to continue the services the Hub provides.  Thanks to Dean and the wonderful staff and volunteers for their tremendous commitment and support, the doors were able to be kept open.

The Bellingen Shire Council recognises the importance of the Hub within our community and is committed to its ongoing success and with our staff, volunteers and Management Committee we will facilitate the transition to fill the big shoes that Dean leaves.

As this is occurring, every endeavour will be made to ensure the day to day engagements will be maintained so that our youth are supported within the Bellingen Shire.