For The Nest team it is always enlightening and inspirational to hear what young people have to tell us through the consultation activities. By involving young people in this way, it means an action plan can be developed which is genuinely grounded in the things that matter most to those who matter most. And hearing straight from the horse’s mouth is a refreshing reminder of the realities – good and bad – faced by young people in Australia today.
In Melbourne, The Nest recently participated in the UN Youth Social Justice Fair. Here, spurred on by free lollies (and fruit of course!), we were advised by many of the 16 – 24 year olds present of the things that are important for young people, and what should be done to help children and young people in Australia to have a better life.
Education appeared to be mentioned a lot, often considered as key to opening up future opportunities and ultimately reducing levels of inequality. Complementing this was the presence of a safe, supported, loving network of family and friends and secure home environment.
Across the blustery Bass Strait we conducted activities in three locations, supported by the Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT). A Friday night at the chambers of Waratah-Wynyard Council, on the beautiful far northwest coast, highlighted particular concerns relating to remoteness and access of services, such as education courses and activities for young people.
Further consultation sessions in Hobart – at Geilston Bay High School, and with the Glenorchy Youth Taskforce – reiterated the importance placed on activities and places for young people to go. In many cases, these were seen to be beneficial for young people in building relationships, developing life skills, feeling involved and having a sense of freedom and independence. At the same time, they were considered one way by which the community can tackle issues such as antisocial behaviour, public safety, and substance misuse among young people.
Of course, that’s just a snapshot of some of the issues raised by young people over the past week. The Nest is continuing to gather views and feedback via the survey and consultation work with our partners, leading to the summit on November 23. We would love to hear your thoughts before then…