Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Youth Week Canned Nothing Left for Our Young; Council Support for Youth Dries Up

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Youth Week Canned Nothing Left for Our Young; Council Support for Youth Dries Up

Article excerpt

Byline: Marian Faa Marian.Faa@warwickdailynews.com.au

MISUNDERSTOOD, marginalised and feeling forgotten, the young people of Warwick have just copped another blow as Southern Downs Regional Council pulls the plug on its Youth Week involvement just a few weeks out from the annual event.

Targeted at a cohort of people who are notoriously difficult to engage, Youth Week was the one event of the year dedicated solely to giving young people a voice, presence and spotlight in the community.

But without the coordination effort that was once the charge of council's now-defunct Youth Development Officer, the calendar for youth is looking miserably sparse.

Former young leader Jack Kearn said many of the problems faced by youth were linked to a lack of engagement.

"There are a lot of mental health issues in Warwick with young people that I have seen," he said.

"A lot of depression and anxiety and the way they make themselves feel better is by going out and causing trouble or withdrawing into their phones.

"Without Youth Week there is not much out there for kids in Warwick," he said.

Headspace manager Travis Maguire said abandoning Youth Week sent a message that young people were not valued.

"I think first and foremost it shows young people the rest of community cares about them," he said.

"It puts the focus on that part of the community for once and if you give a cohort something to engage with they feel wanted and appreciated.

"This is one of those opportunities for them to get out and present themselves to the community."

But Mr Maguire said it wasn't just the stereotypical "disengaged" population of youth that were affected.

"Youth week was for the engaged and the disengaged - it worked for everyone. …

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