Empowering young people to determine their futures

Horsham Rural City Council

Horsham Youth Strategy

Horsham is a regional local government area located 300km north-west of Melbourne, in the heart of the Wimmera region of Victoria. Home to nearly 4,000 people aged 12-24 years, young people are a great resource for the Horsham area and play an active role in their community, but also face some challenges including relatively poor health and wellbeing outcomes, lack of transport and limited education and career pathways.

In 2018, Cred was engaged to deliver Council’s first Youth Strategy to provide direction for the organisation’s actions to best support young people.

Students presenting their ideas to develop the Youth Strategy

Students presenting their ideas to develop the Youth Strategy (Source: Cred Consulting)

How we did it

To inform the development of the Strategy, we delivered extensive background research, as well as a multi-staged community and stakeholder engagement program with youth services, government agencies, Horsham Rural City Council staff and young people.

Our approach included:

  • Analysis of Horsham youth demographics.
  • Review of strategic context.
  • Review, audit and mapping of Council and non-Council youth services delivery and comparison with neighbouring and comparable council areas, including a services gap analysis.
  • Review of leading practice in regional youth service delivery.
  • Community engagement through service interviews, online and intercept surveys, Council staff workshop, Instagram, focus groups and Councillor interviews.
  • Collaborative workshops with young people and service providers to truth test identified needs and develop strategies and actions.
Students presenting their ideas to the room
Students presenting their ideas to develop the Youth Strategy (Source: Cred Consulting)
Diagram showing the UN's Youth-friendly city framework
The UN's Youth Friendly City Framework (Credit: United Nations)
A group photo of the students who participated in the workshop
Happy youth ambassadors for Horsham's Youth Strategy

Youth Councillor Armani Scollary said the multipurpose youth space would help meet a growing social need for young people across the Horsham district: “I’m mostly looking forward to going there with my friends and just knowing we can hang out there and feel like we’re included with the rest of the community."

Quoted in the Wimmera Weekly Advertiser, August 2020

The outcome

Our research and conversations with young people and service providers identified significant opportunities for Council to support local young people by adopting more contemporary service delivery models, delivering youth-friendly places and empowering young people to be involved in decision-making.

The Youth Strategy has had significant positive outcomes for the Horsham community, including the establishment of a Youth Council that advocates for issues relevant to young people, and supports Council’s engagement with young people; as well as the appointment of a Council Youth Officer.

The Strategy will provide Council with the approved strategic directions for the delivery of contemporary youth services that meet the needs of a diverse regional city population.

Importantly, it is guiding Council’s move away from a traditional centre-based youth services model towards an outreach and collective impact model. Since adopting the Strategy, Council has refurbished its youth centre as a multipurpose space that offers dedicated study and hangout space, as well as space for a range of different youth service providers and organisations.