With some financial assistance via the Commissioner’s Community Grants Program, the City of Mount Gambier will call on members of its Youth Activation Group (YAG) to co-design the new youth space at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre.

City of Mount Gambier Strategic Development and Recreation Officer, Elisa Solly, says the new space was intentionally left as a ‘blank canvas’ for the incoming YAG to shape: “We can sit back and tell them how wonderful [the space] is, but they need to decide the programming and facilities that they want to see in there.”

Elisa says the council and library teams are eager to get the new YAG up and running with applications from local young people currently being sought. As part of the onboarding process, new Youth Activation Group members will have an opportunity to upskill in the areas of planning, project management, communications and media engagement, as well as in graphic design and illustration.  They’ll use these to develop a proposal for the Wulanda Youth Space which they’ll then present to the Mount Gambier Council’s Executive Leadership Team for consideration.

“This is going to be the best thing in Mount Gambier that’s dedicated to youth,” says Elisa, who has been involved with planning, promotion, and recruitment for the Youth Activation Group.

Elisa and her library-based colleague, Terasa Nearmy, have been working directly with schools and local youth organisations such as Purple Orange, Focus One Health, and the Mount Gambier Young People’s Network, to promote the YAG openings to as many metro-area and regional young people in the Mount Gambier and the surrounding regions as possible.

Designing the Wulanda youth space is just the first task for new YAG members. They will also “be engaged in policy and decision-making processes moving forward”.

The Youth Space at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre is the first central space dedicated to young people living in Mount Gambier. The hope is that a relaunched YAG will lead to more young people choosing to stay in Mount Gambier over the longer term.

“Hopefully, it will make Mount Gambier a great place for young people to stay and live and keep their skills in the region, helping to activate our spaces and make everything better for young people overall.”