By Gabriella Payne
With the new, state-of-the-art Pakenham youth centre on the horizon, the Cardinia Shire Council are calling on the region’s young people to get involved in local matters and have their say in a new online survey, aimed at meeting the needs of young people across Cardinia.
Young people aged between 12 and 24 years of age who either “live, work, study or play” in Cardinia are being encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas with the Council, so that they can better cater to young people’s needs and aspirations as the area continues to grow.
Open until Friday 7 May, Mayor Brett Owen said that it was a fantastic way for young people to get their voices heard and make an impact in the area.
“We want to hear about what is important to you as a young person in Cardinia Shire,” Mayor Owen said.
“This information is important for us at the council as it helps us plan services, advocate for and support young people.”
On top of this, the Cardinia Shire Council are also encouraging young people to make suggestions for the name of the new mega youth centre currently being built in Pakenham.
Mayor Owen made a special stop in at Pakenham’s current youth centre, MyPlace, on Thursday 1 April and spoke with some of the staff and patrons there about what this new centre would mean for the community.
Kat Scott and Kaylie Pert, the youth engagement officer and youth services officer at MyPlace both agreed that the new three storey facility would be amazing for many reasons.
“I think the new centre is going to be a lot more accessible for a lot of people,” Ms Scott said.
“We’re going to have a recording booth in the building, we’re going to have a really great rec space on the rooftop – so there’ll be a lot more capacity to do more diverse programs,” Ms Pert added.
“I think it will just have the ability to bring more people in for such a variety of different reasons and programs,” Ms Scott said.
“It’s great that we always outsource a lot of our programs, but it’ll be really nice to have that room to have them on site as well, it’ll just give us more availability to run more programs over time.”
Mayor Owen said that he was excited to see the new facility open soon, as the current facilities at MyPlace were in high demand.
“At the moment, this facility is now at capacity and we can’t attract more services because there’s just no accommodation for them,” he said.
“We want more services to come out to Cardinia and make it easier for our people to access these particular services,” Mayor Owen added, “so it’s going to be fantastic.”
Carly Montgomery, a year twelve student from Pakenham Secondary College said she had been using the services at MyPlace for about three years now and was excited to see the new youth centre open soon.
Ms Montgomery said that MyPlace was “good as” and she loved promoting the services to all her friends.
“I book in to the holiday programs like every holidays, so it’s always fun to have a chat and have some fun,” she said.
Ms Montgomery said the best part about a centre like MyPlace was “just to feel included and have a safe space to come to” and she was looking forward to seeing the new youth centre up and running soon.