Giving our Youth a Louder Voice

2 weeks ago | by

Identifying pathways and options to better engage local youth in shaping their community – and how best to support their current and future needs – is the goal of Coffs Harbour City Council’s Youth Issues and Options Paper which is going out for broader consultation from today (Monday, 27 July) until Monday, 24 August 2020.

The Options Paper is the result of lengthy, in-depth engagement with young people between the ages of 12-24 and youth services providers over a two-year period. It outlines key needs, issues and opportunities relating to young people throughout the Coffs Harbour local government area.

The Paper has been prepared to stimulate discussion and obtain feedback on youth issues and opportunities for Council and the wider community. It also provides an overview of Council’s existing level of youth engagement and its role as an advocate, partner, or lead provider of services.

“Improving the opportunities and services we can provide for our youth is a long-held passion of mine. Giving them improved educational – and eventually employment – outcomes is what lies behind my desire to see vastly better cultural and community facilities in the city, which have a vital role to play in education outside of schools,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Denise Knight.

“The region has a troublingly high level of youth unemployment that I know concerns all levels of government and I am also keenly aware that the impacts of COVID-19 are having a disproportionately damaging effect on young people already in, or looking to enter, the workforce. We all need to work together as a community to give our young people the future they deserve. I’d urge everyone to please take the time to provide input on the Paper.”

Young people aged between 12 and 24 account for 15% of the Coffs Harbour community. The Youth Issues and Options Paper provides a current overview of key demographic data, trends, issues, opportunities and Council’s current youth engagement activities. It offers options for Council and community consideration for future planning.

“Policy-makers and researchers alike recognise that young people are experts in their own lives. They have knowledge and experiences that are unique to them and they often have unique perspectives of their community and world. When we asked local youth what the key issues were that affected them the most, they identified 12 key areas which we have highlighted in the Options Paper for discussion,” said Sian Nivison, Council’s Group Leader Community and Cultural Services.

The key issues were movement and connectivity, employment and education, housing and homelessness, spaces and places, entertainment, events, and things to do, personal and community safety, youth voice, engagement and inclusion, attraction and retention of young people, health, disadvantage, Council workforce diversity, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation.

The Youth Issues and Options Paper is available to view on Council’s Have Your Say website from 27 July until 24 August 2020. Submissions can also be made via the website.

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