Gap analysis on unmet youth needs now underway in Isaac

Gap analysis on unmet youth needs now underway in Isaac

A research exercise to better understand the many challenges young people face in accessing support in the Isaac region is underway.

A research exercise to better understand the many challenges young people face in accessing support in the Isaac region is underway.

Greater Whitsunday Communities has been engaged by Isaac Regional Council to conduct research to identify the unmet needs of young people aged 10-18 years within the Isaac region.

The Isaac Youth Unmet Needs project is collecting data anonymously from youth service providers on barriers they face in delivering services to young people, and especially on service needs that are not currently being met.

Mayor Anne Baker said with limited specialist support services available across the region, many young people are not receiving the help that they need in addressing critical issues.

“Council is investing $50,000 in this study and it’s the first step in a two-step process,” she said.

“The first step is to analyse what are the unmet needs of youth in the Isaac region. The second step will be to examine how to best meet those needs.

“This is, in a nutshell, a gap analysis of youth programs and events which support young people through the region and develop an advocacy and facilitation plan to address priority gaps.

“The information gathered will also assist Isaac Regional Council in guiding policy development for young people and their families.”

Greater Whitsunday Communities Senior Coordinator Dorne Wallace said it is crucial to engage with young people themselves to discuss what issues they have faced in the Isaac region.

“We know there are very few youth-specific services based in the Isaac region, so it is often a complex task for young people and their families to have their needs met, frequently leading to frustration as assistance may not ‘hit the spot’,” Ms Wallace said.

“From this research, it is hoped to identify any unmet needs, and to facilitate collaboration amongst those services that are available locally to develop greater capacity for flexible, effective and timely support for our young people.”

Emergency and Long-Term Accommodation Moranbah service coordinator Tracy Chapman said giving young people an opportunity to voice their opinions about what would be most beneficial to meeting their needs is a powerful catalyst for change.

“All young people need to have the opportunity to have their say, by doing so we understand their sense of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity,” Ms Chapman said.

“When youth needs are met in positive ways, they are likely to grow into contributing members of their families and the community.”

Early engagement with young people has revealed concerns about self-esteem, bullying, mental health, schooling and a lack of training, higher education and employment opportunities.

Izzy Turns, a youth member of the Isaac Youth Unmet Needs Advisory Group, said she cannot wait to see this project progress.

“Being just one of the voices for the youth within our region provides great opportunities to guide the development of the project and ensure barriers for youth are identified for opportunity for change,” she said.

Youth service providers, 10-18-years-olds and their parents can access the anonymous Isaac Youth Unmet Needs survey via the following link: or by calling research coordinator Kelly McGrath on 0427 544 119.

The online survey closes at midnight on Thursday, 31 December 2020, while youth interviews and focus group discussions will continue through February 2021. The Isaac Youth Unmet Needs final report will be published by June 2021.

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