The development of a Youth Strategy and Policy was the top priority recommendation identified by service providers from a wide-ranging consultation on ways to improve opportunities and services for local youth.
Young people, those aged between 12 – 25 years, account for 15% of the Coffs Harbour community.
“Young people are known to be among the most heavily impacted by the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Madeleine Lawler, Council’s Section Leader Community Planning and Engagement.
“Young people in the community have disproportionately borne the load of education disruption and structural changes to the employment market.
“They are also exhibiting poorer mental health outcomes and are vulnerable to instability in their home circumstances.”
Council’s Options Paper including recommendations was the result of lengthy, in-depth engagement with young people between the ages of 12-25 and youth services providers over a two-year period.
It outlined key needs, issues and opportunities relating to young people throughout the Coffs Harbour local government area.
Public exhibition of the Youth Issues and Options Paper was undertaken from 27 July to 24 August 2020. In that time, 14 submissions were received, 11 surveys were completed and 10 interviews conducted with people working in the youth sector.
The engagement process identified 17 recommendations. The highest priority recommendation was to develop a Youth Strategy and Policy with work to start in July.
A further recommendation was for Council to support a Youth Forum that Council is proposing to hold in line with the 2021 review of the Community Strategic Plan.
The remaining recommendations will be used to help focus discussions with young people as the Youth Strategy and Policy is developed.