Questions raised about what young people actually want

Troy Arandale.

Troy Arandale.

The new youth advisory committee for the council has held its first meeting.

Much of the business was sorting out how it would operate. The first chairman was elected. He is Troy Arandale, a father of three, with Glen Innes High School student, Jennifer Mackenzie, as deputy.

No decisions were taken. They will wait until the group has found its feet. The committee advises the council but the council is not bound by its recommendations.

Some issues which may turn out to be important were raised.

For example, the council is committed to supporting the transformation of the RFS headquarters on Bourke Street into a “youth hub”. It hopes that money can be found from state cultural funds.

But some people on the committee felt that the word “cultural” in the place’s title might put some young people off going there. On the other hand, the cultural aspect is probably important in getting a grant, the application deadline for which is less than two weeks away.

Peter Lisberg said that having a neutral title would “open it for all kinds of people to attend”.

Deputy Mayor Carol Sparks who has campaigned for the youth centre said that the word “cultural” had a wide definition.

Five of the 12 members of the committee are under 24 years of age and seven are older so there was a feeling in the meeting that more contact should be made with young people, perhaps though a sausage sizzle.

Peter Lisberg, said: “We haven’t got enough young people”.

Another member, Navanka Fletcher, wanted to clarify who the youth centre would be catering to – where would older teenagers and those in their early 20s fit in? Would the centre be primarily for disadvantaged people?

She was also worried about funding: “If we put all our funds into a ‘youth hub’, will there be anything left?”

Another member, Peta Perrin, wondered if youth actually wanted a youth hub.

There was much discussion about what a council survey in April revealed on this.

Here are those results, as written by the council at the time:

“In response to a question asking about young people’s concerns the answers were:

a lack of courses and/or jobs (34%); 

a lack of youth activities (27%);

a lack of services including mental health (23%); 

the lack of a safe place to go (16%). 

“When asked what youth needed in Glen Innes, the responses were:

more youth activities (37%);

Wi-Fi (28%);

a safe place to go (25%);

more services - e.g. ‘mental health’ (10%). 

“When asked if they attended youth events the response were:

sometimes attended (54%); 

attended (16%);

did not attend (30%).”

The council said that when the youth were asked if they would consider attending an afternoon tea and activity coordinated by Council’s Youth Worker every Wednesday, some participants misunderstood the question and thought that it referred to attending Ordinary Council Meetings.

After adjusting for this confusion, the responses were:

38% replied sometimes;

36% replied yes; 

19% were unsure; 

7% replied no.

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