Work begins on Mid Coast youth strategic plan

The team at MidCoast Council will soon begin a conversation with young people, and local community groups connected with the youth sector, as part of developing a three-year plan focused on addressing youth issues across the region.

They make up almost 15 per cent of the local population. They are the future residents, workforce, influencers and leaders within our community. They’re aged between 14 and 24, and their thoughts, opinions and concerns are at the heart of a research study, developed with support from the University of New England (UNE), that will inform the Mid Coast Youth Strategic Plan.

The plan has become a priority for the region.

“Working alongside local service providers, we identified the need for a co-ordinated approach to understanding and delivering upon local youth issues”, explained Lyndie Hepple of MidCoast Council.

“As part of developing something that has relevance and meaning in supporting young people from all corners of our region, it’s critical they have a voice and guide the direction of the plan, and the initiatives contained within it.”

The first phase of the project has kicked off this week. MidCoast Council has been working with UNE’s School of Health to formulate and undertake an initial research survey to help shape the plan.

“We’re encouraging people 14 to 24 years old to take part by completing the survey that delves into what they think about living in the MidCoast region, what challenges they and their peers face, their issues, and the concerns they hold for their future,” Lyndie said.

Survey participants can remain anonymous, or choose to continue their involvement by registering to take part in follow-up focus groups that will expand on key themes identified from the survey. Parents and guardians of young people are also encouraged to share their views using the survey.

“By asking ‘what youth think’ we’re looking for strong participation in terms of numbers, and breadth of feedback that unravels the focus areas that really matter”.

Once complete, the youth strategic plan will provide a region-wide framework for youth-focused support services, actions and initiatives for a three-year period, 2019 – 2021. While MidCoast Council will lead the process in developing the plan, the local youth service sector will be instrumental in its implementation.

Consultation and research will be undertaken across the Mid Coast this month, followed by the focus group sessions, with an aim of having the MidCoast Youth Strategic Plan finalised and adopted by Council early in 2019.

To find out more about this exciting project, and to ‘tell us what youthink’ visit www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/youthink and link to the survey, which takes around 30 minutes to complete. The survey will remain open until Friday, August 31.