Coun­cil sup­ports youth move

The Tatura Guardian - - News -

Greater Shep­par­ton City Coun­cil voted to fully sup­port the Word and Mouth board and com­mit­tee by pro­vid­ing ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tance, ex­tra fund­ing and of­fice space to al­low the com­mit­tee mem­bers to fo­cus more on their core busi­ness — work­ing with young peo­ple.

An in­de­pen­dent re­view and chang­ing cir­cum­stances en­cour­aged the WAM board to con­sider the best use of the valu­able re­sources the young peo­ple pro­vide with both their time, energy and in­tel­lec­tual skills.

Coun­cil’s sup­port and guid­ance with gov­er­nance and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment will en­able a bet­ter con­nec­tion with the young peo­ple of the com­mu­nity and al­low WAM staff and vol­un­teers to do more of what they do best — events, ed­u­ca­tion and in­for­ma­tion for young peo­ple.

The rec­om­men­da­tion voted on by coun­cil at Tues­day’s meet­ing in­cludes con­sult­ing with stake­hold­ers on Terms of Ref­er­ence (based on the ex­ist­ing WAM vi­sion); ‘‘To pro­vide a voice for young peo­ple in Greater Shep­par­ton to lead, en­gage, cre­ate and shape their com­mu­ni­ties’’.

‘‘The good faith and con­stant mu­tual sup­port be­tween coun­cil and WAM, par­tic­u­larly in the cur­rent cost and fund­ing en­vi­ron­ment has made the need to be sep­a­rate en­ti­ties coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. All par­ties are happy that the longevity of WAM has been se­cured,’’ Word and Mouth Board chair James Oldfield said.

Greater Shep­par­ton City Coun­cil chil­dren’s and youth ser­vices man­ager Sally Rose said the shift in gov­er­nance would not re­sult in the loss of pur­pose of the ser­vice and cur­rent staff would be ac­com­mo­dated in the trans­fer of op­er­a­tion from the for­mer In­fant Wel­fare Cen­tre to the coun­cil of­fices.

‘‘Word and Mouth is con­sid­ered the go-to or­gan­i­sa­tion when the opin­ions of lo­cal young peo­ple are sought by coun­cil of­fi­cers, lo­cal media and youth ser­vice de­liv­ery agen­cies,’’ she said.

‘‘They pro­vide a plat­form for youth voices to be heard on is­sues such as gov­ern­ment pol­icy, so­cial media and men- tal health and im­por­tantly of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­velop lead­er­ship skills for mem­bers.’’

To en­sure an av­enue for young peo­ple to con­trib­ute to our com­mu­nity is main­tained, a Youth Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee will be set up which will op­er­ate sim­i­larly to the Dis­abil­ity Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee and the Pos­i­tive Age­ing Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee.

The ex­act make-up of the com­mit­tee and its terms of ref­er­ence will be de­vel­oped with the cur­rent WAM army — the ex­ist­ing youth com­mit­tee.

Plan­ning for a num­ber of WAM events is al­ready well un­der way and will con­tinue — busi­ness as usual.

Kick­ing up their heels: Dancers take to the floor for the Hokey Pokey at the Vic­tory Hall Ball. Jeff Baker

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