This strategy is currently under review.

Our Region is home to over 27,000 young people aged 12-24. Young people are vital to our future and bring fresh ideas and energy to the whole community.

We value the contributions young people make to our region and are proud to support their participation in all aspects of community life.

Our Youth Strategy 2019-2021 is designed with young people at its heart, and will guide how we recognise, support and engage with young people as our next generation of community leaders. The strategy includes five focus areas centred on supporting young people to:

  • Get involved in their communities
  • Have a voice and participate in government decision-making
  • Link with service providers, community organisations and government agencies
  • Find jobs, study and get training close to home
  • Connect with other young people in the Region.

More than 700 community members including young people, service providers, youth support workers, educators, emergency services personnel and Councillors helped shape the vision, guiding principles and focus areas in the strategy.

We called for community feedback on a draft version of the strategy during July 2019. Feedback generated through this process was used to guide the development of the final strategy endorsed at a meeting of Council on 22 October 2019. To find out more about the consultation process and outcomes, please read developing the strategy below.

Developing the strategy

Our Youth Connect team conducted a major study in partnership with USQ through 2018-19 to inform the development of the Youth Strategy 2019-2021. We made contact with youth services, education providers, emergency services, government agencies, and other community members and community leaders. Most importantly, young people and their families from throughout the region had their say, with contributions from over 700 study participants.

Drawing on the evidence base of this study, development of the Youth Strategy 2019-2021 was spearheaded by Youth Connect and our Regional Youth Advisory Committee (RYAC). The RYAC—which includes youth sector representatives from child safety, community services, disability services, education, emergency services, employment, and justice—was the strategy’s key driving force. The contributions of our Regional Youth Leaders were also instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.

During 1–31 July 2019, the draft strategy was made publicly available and the wider community was invited to share their ideas in a long-form survey on how our young people can best be supported. The survey attracted 79 further submissions, almost half of which came from young people. This feedback helped guide the final draft of the Youth Strategy 2019-2021 and gave definition to the document’s Youth Action Plan.

The findings of our youth study and community consultation highlighted a number of areas around the needs of young people in our Region. The most significant issues related to mental health, isolation, alcohol and other drugs, availability of youth-focused activities and programs, housing and homelessness, employment and educational opportunities, and accessible transport options – and these issues were often experienced to a greater degree by young people in regional towns.

As part of the consultation, young people and the wider community told us what they would like to see in an ideal world. This included:

  • Youth-focused events, activities and programs, especially those which are affordable and accessible
  • Affordable housing and support for young people’s access to housing
  • Youth spaces, hubs and drop-in centres
  • Sports, active recreation and healthy living opportunities for young people
  • Arts, music and cultural opportunities for young people
  • Information, resources and community awareness of existing services, programs and groups
  • Mental health services and programs which are affordable and accessible for young people
  • Social supports, programs and groups for young people
  • Employment, work experience, training and volunteer opportunities for young people
  • Opportunities for young people to participate meaningfully in community life and contribute to decision-making.

We also received feedback from the community around how the Region’s decision-makers could better support young people from diverse backgrounds, the best ways to include young people in decision-making processes, and the best ways to communicate with our Region’s young people.

Our sincere thanks go out to the many participants who contributed their time and efforts over the entire length of the project. The final draft of the Youth Strategy 2019-2021 has now been adopted by the Environment and Community Committee and was endorsed at an ordinary meeting on 22 October 2019.

As a living document and community-collaborative endeavour, we look forward to realising the outcomes of the strategy in partnership with our Region’s youth sector, community stakeholders, and young people.

Related documents and links

Toowoomba Regional Council Youth Strategy 2019-2021