Giving voice to youth in community
‘I would encourage anyone who fits the criteria to apply as the youth council needs representation from throughout our community.’
MALCOLM DIXON Hastings district councillor
Hastings residents aged between 15 and 21 are being invited to apply for a place on the Hastings District Youth Council to add a valued youth perspective to council decisions and policies.
Applications are open until February 20, and successful council appointees will get the opportunity to have their voices heard as well as create and support youth projects and initiatives across the district.
For former Havelock North High School head girl Ella Hoogerbrug, two years on the council was a worthwhile experience sparked by a desire to empower the youth voice and make sure young people were getting “a fair shot and the best opportunities”, she says.
About to start studying law and development studies at Victoria University this year, she says she felt a real sense of pride in what the youth council achieved in her time there, particularly in the past year.
“Our group really put their best foot forward and stood up for what they believe in whether it’s the revamp of the Hastings CBD, how to get young people involved in more sport or simply giving our opinion on how local areas can benefit youth more.”
She says she made lots of connections in the community both with older adults as well as other likeminded students, and in her role as chairperson for the last year she also gained leadership and communication skills.
The youth council comprises 15 councillors who attend one official meeting every month and additional meetings depending on what projects are coming up.
In 2018, the youth council was involved in running the Hastings District Council Potential Awards, gave feedback to council on the planned CBD redevelopment, and organised and ran the first Youth Grants presentation evening celebrating talented and hard-working young people in Hastings.
This year the youth council will be putting together a programme of events and projects to celebrate National Youth Week that runs from May 18 to 27.
Hastings district councillor Malcolm Dixon has worked with the youth council since he was first elected five years ago and says the youth voice is an important on.
“We need to hear from young people — what their concerns are as well as their solutions.
“We also need to listen to how they would like Hastings to look and function in the future because the youth of today is our future.
“I would encourage anyone who fits the criteria to apply as the youth council needs representation from throughout our community.”
■ To find out more about the youth council and to apply go to the council website www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/hastings/youthservices/youthcouncil
Former Hastings district youth councillor Ella Hoogerbrug says being on the youth council was an empowering experience.