Draft Youth Strategy out for public comment

Published on 03 July 2018

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Horsham Rural City Council’s Draft Youth Strategy is now out for public comment and the community is encouraged to have its say.

Mayor Pam Clarke said the strategy signaled Council’s commitment to better outcomes for young people within the Horsham Rural City region.

“After spending the past two months consulting with our community, it is very exciting to now be able to present a draft strategy to the community,” Cr Clarke said.

“Young people are our future so we need a strategy that helps to ensure they have the resources they need to grow up safe, healthy, happy and resilient and are provided the opportunities and skills they need to learn, work, and engage with the community,” she said.

The Draft Strategy will guide how Council will work with young people, services, schools and the community across the next 10 years.

“There will be changes in the way we deliver youth services, changes in how we engage with young people and changes to our advocacy platform,” Cr Clarke said.

“We encourage residents to view the draft strategy and action plan and make comment by the closing date.”

Director Community Services Kevin O’Brien said the Draft Strategy recommended a transition away from the current centre-based youth services model that is currently delivered under the Nexus brand.

“It is proposed that Council shifts its youth services resources to an internal youth officer role who will be well placed to deliver on emerging priorities and coordinate engagement with young people.

“This is necessary for Horsham to continue grow and evolve as a vibrant, inclusive and youth friendly community.

The Strategy reveals that Horsham has many assets to offer young people but the region's youth also face some challenges.

“Respondents said they valued the safety and peacefulness of the Horsham area, while many expressed concerns about drug and alcohol use, bullying and mental and physical health,” Mr O’Brien said.

The Draft Youth Strategy seeks to empower young people with a voice in decision making across all of Councils work areas.  It also proposes that a youth council be developed to provide young people with more meaningful opportunities with Council.

“We are not defining the model, as we think it is important that young people tell us what they want.

“It will also provide opportunities for our young people to co-design services, spaces and activities that are welcoming and inclusive,” Mr O’Brien said.

The Draft Youth Strategy is available for public comment from 3 July until 29 July, 2018 and can be viewed at the Council Offices in Natimuk and Horsham or on Council’s website hrcc.vic.gov.au.

Feedback will be used to inform the final draft strategy, which will be presented to Council for approval later this year.