23 February 2024

Bid to bring The Block to life for Cooktown

| Chisa Hasegawa
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The Block

The Block was donated to the youth of Cooktown but a lack of funds has made it difficult to utilise. Photo: supplied.

A Cooktown youth group is desperate for money and manpower, and a motivated club member is ready to take the lead.

The Cooktown District Youth Association (CDYA) has for the past few years been in the process of making The Block – a block of land donated to the youth of Cooktown – into an inviting space for events, but a lack of funds and members has halted its progress.

Now, in a bid to give the project a kickstart, the group will be holding an information morning on 24 February to find out how young people in Cooktown would like to to see The Block utilised.

CDYA member Melinda Parker said she would love to see community members come along and provide input on their vision for the property.

“We’d like to be able to facilitate what the youth want to do, but the only way we can do that is if they come and tell us, so it’d be great for them to have a look at the space and see what they want to do with it,” she said.

“At the moment, we might have the odd event here and there, but we’d definitely like to do more.

“If people come and say to us that they want a movie night or something, we want to organise that.”

Ms Parker said the organisation was looking forward to the next annual general meeting, which will be held next month at The Block.

“We are starting to see some very motivated members coming forward, which is great to see,” she said.

“I’m not on the committee, but I organise a lot of the fundraising events and apply for grants, and I intend to run for president at the next AGM.

“I really feel there is a positive change coming for the organisation.”


CDYA holds a barbecue at the RSL every week to fundraise for the organisation. Photo: supplied.

The aspiring president said the next step would be to secure more funding and more members.

“Really, our only fundraising right now is a barbecue at the RSL every week, a council grant that provided some equipment, and a Gambling Community Benefit Fund grant to renovate the toilet block,” Ms Parker said.

“The goal for this year is to get support from local council and state government to get the funds and manpower to actually utilise the space and the organisation, because there’s so much potential.”

She said funding had always been one of the primary issues for the organisation.

“At the moment, even if there are good ideas, it just feels dead in the water sometimes, because we don’t have the means to carry it out,” Ms Parker said.

“We’ve really been thinking something like an undercover basketball area would be great, but that would cost a lot.

“Especially with a highly motivated committee, we really just want to get more funding support to make The Block somewhere the youth want to go.”

Ms Parker said previous committee members had paved the path for the group’s current push.

“We are very grateful to past committee members, including, but not limited to, Barb Keats, Karen Whipper, Cas Sorensen and Peter Hermann for keeping the place alive, and keeping it from being sold,” she said.

“We are [also] grateful to Yuku Baja Muliku for spending time and effort improving the grounds, and to My Pathways, who currently utilise the building and maintain the grounds.

“We’ve been working with the Lion’s Club, Cook Shire Council and the RSL to secure The Block’s future; we are very positive about what this year will bring.”

The CDYA information morning will be held at The Block (30 Charlotte St) on 24 February , 2024from 9:30am-12:30pm.

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