There's a quiet but growing epidemic circulating around the community - homelessness.
As wages remain static, affordable accommodation becomes elusive and COVID-19 continues to hover, an expanding number of people are couch surfing, camping in retail and business doorways or under bridges.
And, people without a permanent address find it even more difficult to secure any type of paid work.
However, local builder, Bill Tynan has developed an ambitious plan which he hopes can help alleviate some of this pain.
Using a plan he put together while working in Queensland and off the Northern Territory coastline, Bill is offering to train young people and the unemployed in the building construction industry.
"My plan is to mentor, support and teach the youth of Forster Tuncurry and the Mid-Coast region skills in building construction and safety and how to make positive choices," Bill said.
He is keen to encourage young people to make better decisions regarding their future work and contribute to the community.
"I want to teach kids to have the skills and the qualifications, to respect people."
The qualified carpenter and licenced builder who has various certificates in workplace health and safety, training and assessment and is a senior first aid officer wants to share these skills with both men and women.
"These skills will all be integrated into our training program," Bill said.
With assistance from 4-5 volunteers, Bill undertook a similar, successful program in Caboolture (Qld) and in New Guinea.
However, Bill is seeking assistance from local businesses, youth support groups, mental health professionals, local and State government agencies and local, retired tradespeople to name a few.
My plan is to mentor, support and teach the youth of Forster Tuncurry and the Mid-Coast region skills in building construction and safety and how to make positive choices.- Youth volunteer, Bill Tynan
With their help we can encourage all participants to gain their self esteem, confidence and desire to become proud, positive, motivated citizens in this beautiful part of the world.
Bill is the first to admit he was a 'naughty boy' as a youth, and into his 20s.
But Bill, who arrived from his native Belfast with his mum and siblings back in the early 70s, always had a strong work ethic and support from his older brothers.
After leaving school at 14 years and nine months, Bill toyed with the idea of joining the merchant navy - but he was too young.
For a while he installed imitation brick cladding before starting an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner.
Bill honed his skills working on building sites across the nation, while travelling the country in a 4WD and seven metre caravan.
"For five years I worked on projects and picked up work; but one of the highlights was working on Elcho Island (off the coast of Arnhem Land in the territory).
For four months Bill worked with the local Indigenous population helping to build a hospital. Following work he could often be found yarning around the campfire and learning how to play the didgeridoo.
"I had a great relationships with those boys."
Moving on Bill worked in New Guinea and Fiji before returning to Australia and the building industry with his brothers.
More recently Bill and his wife Anna relocated to Forster where he worked as a site and safety manager at the Pacific Cape project.
Get in touch with Bill on 0424 698 015 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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