THE new boxing gym and youth centre at the old Lodge on the outskirts of Port Lincoln could soon be expanded to include accommodation for homeless youth.
Boxing coach Peter Williams knows what life is like living on the streets as a teenager and battling through tough times, and is working with Baptist Care to support his work with young people.
"There are so many kids on the edge, we've got to be out there showing we care," Mr Williams said.
"The next step is to put some accommodation up here for some kids."
I want to be able to build some accommodation to support our homeless young people – somewhere safe to stay, to learn how to cook and look after yourself.Peter Williams
The former boxer and 2009 Citizen of the Year has been transforming ‘The Lodge’ into a gym and youth centre, to promote healthy living and a bright new future for young people.
“I have a vision for this shed; it can be more than just a gym and a fun place for young people to hang out,” Mr Williams said.
“I want to be able to build some accommodation to support our homeless young people – somewhere safe to stay, to learn how to cook and look after yourself.”
Until then, Mr Williams is seeking donations to enable him to provide swags for the homeless in Port Lincoln and recently took delivery of the first lot thanks to a $400 donation from the Port Lincoln Baptist Church.
Eyre and North Country Baptist Care area manager Brenton Schubert said it was about supporting youth through their journey, and the right support and care was vital.
“These young people have missed out and really need some encouragement to make positive choices for their future,” Mr Schubert said.
Mr Williams said mental health was a big issue among young people at the moment, particularly due to a rise in internet bullying and said dysfunctional families also played a role in causing instability.
He has been employed by Baptist Care’s Tumbelin project, as a mentor focusing on fitness through boxing at Williams Boxing Gym, giving young people a chance to vent and express themselves through the sport of boxing.
"They walk in shoulders down and walk out chests out,” Mr Williams said.
Mr Williams is seeking donations to enable him to purchase more $80 swags to achieve his target of 200 swags.