Based in Armidale, BackTrack enables young people who have lost their way to reconnect with education, become work-ready and secure employment.
BackTrack has worked with over 1000 youth since 2005, mostly rural, male and aged between 12 and 19 years old. They arrive with multiple and complex challenges in education, health, justice, housing and employment – making it a struggle to fit into mainstream society. They have little prospect of employment, or being able to maintain a happy, healthy life. BackTrack offers support through a flexible and multifaceted model that addresses four key domains of risk: education and employment, health and wellbeing, substance use and crime. Support is tailored to each young person’s needs and for as long as they need, through a range of programs as well as an award winning social enterprise and residential home.
A 2015 university study found that 87% of youth leaving BackTrack did so in some form of education, training or employment. The same study reported a 50% reduction in youth crime as a result of BackTrack in Armidale.
With a mission to help as many young people having a tough time as possible, BackTrack actively supports other communities to establish BackTrack-style programs. BackTrack Boys is an award-winning documentary about the work released in 2018.
VFFF has provided a number of grants to BackTrack towards its operational costs and organisational development, including to support its transition to independence in 2016 and the production of the BackTrack Boys documentary. VFFF’s first impact investment in 2016 was to purchase ‘Warrah’ in Armidale, as a BackTrack residence. The property is being leased to BackTrack in a structure designed to incentivise the organisation to acquire the asset.
BackTrack has been a great friend, partner and mentor to other organisations and communities that VFFF works with in Western NSW, consistently going above and beyond in their mission to help as many young people having a tough time as possible.