From a billiard table to comfortable chairs where people can chill and listen to music, the new youth centre at Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene Greek Orthodox Church in Liverpool, Sydney, will not disappoint.
Parish priest, Father Asterios, came up with the idea for a new youth centre as he wanted to provide a place for young people to connect and socialise on the grounds of the church.
“The response has been very, very positive. We’ve had many people wanting to support this initiative,” Father Asterios tells The Greek Herald, adding that he’d like to thank the Australian Byzantine Choir for their generous donation towards the centre.
“It’s a prototype here in Australia… because it’s a facility where young people can come to be in a safe, fun environment.”
With the aim of opening this new youth centre by the beginning of the summer school holidays, Father Asterios decided to reach out to 3D visualiser and designer, Maria Georgiou, to help make his dream a reality.
Mrs Georgiou tells The Greek Herald that Father Asterios sent her a few ideas and images of what he had in mind for the centre, and she was able to work off those to create a ‘multi-purpose space.’
“The main feature of the space is the joinery section with the three circles, which have a couple of meanings,” Mrs Georgiou says.
“One is the Holy Trinity, the three areas there, as well as connecting, it’s circular, it creates some community, and I wanted it to be a space where the youth can come and have fun and relax and make it their own.
“So the furniture and everything in there is all moveable because youth like to move things around and kind of create their own space.”
Mrs Georgiou says she’s really happy to see her design for the youth centre come to fruition and she encourages all youth to attend.
“I think this is such a great initiative… and it’ll be great to see other parishes follow because youth are our future. So hopefully this might spark a bit of a trend and have other parishes look into it and have something that will bring people together.”
Father Asterios agrees and says his personal long-term goal for the Liverpool centre is to have a youth worker on the grounds providing support through various workshops. As a former educator, he also hopes to offer cultural and fine arts programs as an extension of the youth centre one day.
“I just want to thank the committee and everyone for their willingness and support to embrace this initiative and program for the future of our youth and our church,” Father Asterios concludes.