Shire’s young people in Sync with new youth strategy

With more than half our young people living in a rural setting, connecting with their community is the top priority for Corangamite’s youth.

Appropriately titled “SYNC”, the Shire’s new youth strategy aims to bring together young people, Council and a range of other stakeholders.

More than 250 young people had a part in shaping the Shire’s first in-depth youth strategy. The strategy will guide Council’s Youth Services Program for the next five years

Youth Mayor Tess Lourey said the name summed up the theme of “people moving forward as one”.

“We had some really great input and would like to thank everyone who stepped up and got involved,” Tess said.

“I am honoured to be a part of the first ever youth strategy of the Corangamite Shire and a representative of Youth Council since 2017.”

Through a series of conference calls, Zoom meetings, and an online survey the youth of the Shire shared who they are. They talked about what opportunities they had, their concerns, wants, needs and aspirations.

Four of the top five issues raised called for opportunities to connect with our community. The fifth, also related to wellbeing, pointed out a need for a wider range of physical fitness opportunities.

Participants also expressed a desire for improved access or diversity in:

• Events and activities

• New hobbies

• Ways to stay active

• Workshops for life skills and things to do on weekends

• Ways to meet new friends

• Access to public transport

• Not having enough money to get by

• More mental health support

Another issue raised was the need to feel safe at home, following events such as the coronavirus pandemic and recent bushfires.

Mayor Neil Trotter said young people are the future of the Shire.

“Investing time, providing different opportunities, listening and supporting their contribution to community life is vital for a thriving, inclusive community.”

Cr Trotter said the strategy focused on four main goals to support Shire residents aged 12-20:

1. Young people have a voice that is valued

2. Young people are connected

3. Young people have opportunities

4. We are an effective team

“We invite members of the community to join in finding ways to support and encourage our local youth community across the region to make this Strategy come to life,” Cr Trotter said.

“The heavy lifting has been done in compiling the strategy. The incoming Council and Youth Council will need to ensure that it is an active plan. It will require implementation in the next term.”

Youth Council and the FReeZa Youth Crew—collectively called ‘The Corangamite Youth Crew’—will co-design an annual action plan that will determine what parts of the strategy will be delivered each year. This will allow Council to apply for funding through appropriate programs.

Opportunities to work towards include:

• More diversity in free events and training

• Creating a more inclusive culture

• The hosting of a Corangamite Careers Expo

• Traineeships/partnerships with local businesses

• Greater use of social media for communications.

• Digital information resources specific to young people

• Increased creative pursuits

• Formalised mechanism for young people to provide advice to Council on issues that are important to them.

The strategy can be found here.

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