The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Horsham Rural City Council will seek to engage a younger demographic when it hosts the second instalment of an engagement expo later this year.
The council hosted its first Horsham Rural City Talks Expo in September.
The three-day community engagement initiative aimed to share current and future projects and priorities, and seek community feedback.
More than 400 people attended the expo, at Horsham Town Hall, and an additional 300 people accessed online resources.
The council, at their latest meeting last month, voted to schedule another expo in the second half of this year.
The expo will complement the council’s other major engagement-finding opportunity at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days in March. A date is to be confirmed. In a report to the council, co-ordinator community relations and advocacy, Susan Surridge, said 73 percent of attendees at the expo were aged over 65 and almost twoin-five attendees were aged over 75 — which had provided the council with ‘clear’ feedback from the age group. However she noted there was limited participation from people aged under 35.
She said considering the municipality’s median age was 41, feedback was not representative of the broader demographics of the community.
Councillor David Bowe said an evaluation report of the 2022 expo had recommended a number of improvement opportunities for consideration including more activities to attract a younger demographic — including adults and the Horsham Rural City Youth Council, enhancing the online expo component, workshops with a rural focus, and expanding the number of workshops generally.
Cr Ian Ross said communication was essential to the council and a radio broadcast, via ACE Radio’s MIXX FM, had drawn particular attention to the expo.
The council will allocate a budget of $13,000 to pay for marketing, materials and engagement tools.
The 2022 expo required about 135 hours of staffing resources to plan, host and evaluate key themes.