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Busy year for Hastings District Youth Council

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From creating a calendar jam-packed with events for Youth Week to lobbying the Prime Minister to address mental health issues in young people, the Hastings District Youth Council of 2019 has had a busy year.

Reflecting on the past 12 months at the last full council meeting for the year, Youth Council chair Kate Allen said there had been a number of changes or new initiatives for the 15-strong council members.

This included extending the age for youth council applicants from 19 to 21, creating an Instagram account, promoting and increasing engagement on Facebook, running events for Youth Week and holding two “brain dump” sessions to allow other young people to share their thoughts on living in Hastings.

Hosted at the “Mahi for Youth” pop-up in the Hastings CBD, the brain dump events in March attracted more than 150 young people who shared more than 350 opinions and ideas, she said.

Youth Week comprised more than eight events, including a gumboot hunt, concert, Amazing Race, movie night, basketball competition, cosplay event and two skate competitions.

“We really put Hastings on the map as we had the most amount of events of anyone in the country,” Kate said.

Mental health was a focus for the year and Kate said it was rewarding to address Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a visit to Hastings and tell her about concerns around mental health in the district, and also to have a youth council representative on the Hawke’s Bay Health Consumer Council raising awareness of challenges facing government-funded counselling help line 1737.

The Youth Potential Awards, and being able to support climate change actions with other youth councils were other highlights, she said.

“I personally would like to acknowledge the opportunities, life skills and leadership skills that have come from being the Youth Council chairperson for 2019 and a member in 2018.”

The youth councillors also attended an informal meeting with Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and youth council representative to the Hastings District Council councillor Malcolm Dixon.

Mrs Hazlehurst congratulated them on a successful year.

She said the Youth Council of 2019 had advocated very strongly and brought the youth voice to the council table.

“They have worked hard to address some of the serious challenges facing our young people and I’m incredibly proud of the way they’ve worked together as a team to bring change to help address these issues.

“It doesn’t stop here for this group and I challenge the Youth Council members to not stop working to serve their communities.”

17 December 2019

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