Sport Brings Loddon’s Future Together

Published on 28 August 2019

Young people of Loddon have identified sport as an integral part of what makes them happy living in the municipality.

As part of a Loddon Shire Council plan to retain more young people in the region, more than 360 young people aged between 11 and 25 were interviewed about what they see as the essential facilities and services needed to encourage them to stay.

The Conversation Caravan recently toured the region and spoke to students at Pyramid Hill College and East Loddon P-12 schools, as well as young people at sports events held at Bridgewater Oval and Donaldson Park, Wedderburn.

Some of the feedback included:

  • The need for more safe spaces for young people to come together to socialise, study and learn new skills. Many respondents asked for skate parks.
  • Improved internet connection and speed are considered a priority by young people to ensure school work and connections with their friends via social media are not impacted.
  • Concerns were raised about education and employment in the region, with many young people leaving the area due to lack of opportunities.
  • The need for L2P learn to drive programs due to current long waiting lists and not enough instructors.
  • More local and community events.

Conversation Caravan Director Cindy Plowman said the common theme was how important sport is to the lives of young people in Loddon.

“Many young people told us sport is what they love about living in Loddon and it makes them happy,” Ms Plowman said.

“They said sport gave them an opportunity to connect with friends regularly, volunteer through their clubs and it was a chance to enjoy spending the day outside.”

She said it was great so many young people participated in the engagement process.

“It was lovely to see several of the young people spending time thinking about their responses, and in turn having discussions amongst themselves regarding changes they would like for Loddon, sharing what they love and what makes them happy,” she said.

Loddon Shire Council Mayor Cheryl McKinnon said the Council would consider all feedback to determine how to best provide for the needs of young people.

“Providing support for young people in rural areas is a powerful exercise in strengthening community,” Councillor McKinnon said.

“With a nationwide trend of youth outmigration from rural areas, it is essential that now more than ever we engage our youth in meaningful discussions about what is important to them.”

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