The NSW minister for social services, Linda Burney, has announced a $30,000 boost to funding for GLBT youth support agency Twenty10.

“Community Services funds Twenty10 with $300,000 dollars a year to provide its accommodation service,” Burney told a crowd assembled in Darlinghurst’s Green Park.

“It mightn’t sound like a lot of money but we’re committing another $30,000 as a one-off payment to extend its counselling service.”

Burney was there to launch Twenty10’s strategic plan for the next five years. Joining her were Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt, openly lesbian Labor MLC Helen Westwood, and a crowd of the organisation’s friends and supporters.

“For an organisation like Twenty10 to have a strategic plan for the next five years shows how mature it is, how serious it is, and how important it is in terms of that long-term planning,” Burney said.

“Congratulations on a wonderful history, on such good work over such a long period of time.”

Twenty10 development manager David Moutou said the location was chosen to remind people of the organisation’s history and founding.

“In the early ’80s a number of people in the housing sector in NSW noticed there were a lot of young gay men living on the streets or working the Wall who weren’t accessing services that were available for them, which led that group to think, ‘How can we improve access for young people who need help?’, ” Moutou said.

“They started an outreach service which they called Twenty10 after the postcode of Darlinghurst, and from that small beginning in 1982 we’ve grown into a statewide service. At the moment we’re the biggest we have been in that 28-year history and today is a very important day for us looking forward to what comes next.”

Twenty10 board co-convenor Dr Sean Gallagher said the strategic plan was born out of a weekend retreat taken by the board and senior staff nine months ago.

“Our strategic plan is a real transition, taking Twenty10 from being an outstanding provider of supported accommodation and a drop-in service, to providing a full range of counselling services and being able to extend to parts of Sydney and NSW through online and outreach services for the first time,” Gallagher said.

“Community Services has been supporting Twenty10 since 1984 without a break and it’s that stability of funding … that has allowed Twenty10 to grow and to prosper and to be here today.”

info: To find out more about Twenty10 and its services, visit www.twenty10.org.au

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