Wesley StreetSmart began as a youth outreach centre in the city of Sydney in 1989 in response to the growing number of young people living on the streets. The centre opened on Liverpool Street, in the heart of the city, as a 24 hour welfare service for homeless young people. The centre offered counselling services, hot food, clothing, accommodation, advocacy and referrals to other services. To set the right tone and attract young people, Wesley Mission asked a number of well known Sydney graffiti artists at the time to paint the outside walls of the centre.
The StreetSmart concept expanded and was taken on by Wesley Mission’s services in Newcastle; this time as a mobile outreach service for homeless young people in the form of the StreetSmart van. In keeping with the original centre’s look, the StreetSmart van was painted in graffiti design. The StreetSmart van service was then taken up by Wesley Mission’s youth services in the Western Sydney area, operating out of Wesley Youth Services Nepean.
Today Wesley Mission continues to run this youth outreach service through the Wesley StreetSmart vans. We have vans in Newcastle, Kingswood, Mt Druitt, Rouse Hill and South Windsor reaching out to young people in the local neighbourhoods and providing support in a variety of ways.