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Speak up and engage


Speak up and engage

An enterprising group of young people are having their say on the future of the region, and they’re inviting other young people to speak up too.

Young people on the Sunshine Coast are speaking up and they are asking for support to create a purpose-built youth facility.

A group of 15 young people aged between 12 and 25 joined the Sunshine Coast Council’s Speak Up Engage youth advisory group at that start of the year and are now hosting a free community event to raise awareness of the need for a purpose-built ‘hang out’ for young people to connect, feel safe and channel their creativity.

Speak Up Engage group member Aydan Rusev says they have been consulted by the council on a number of large projects for the region, including the Coast’s biosphere application, but the group also wanted to work together on an event to gauge interest and support for a new venue for young people.

The result of their collaborative efforts is the Youth Coast #SpeakUpEngage.

The event will be held on November 16 from 11am to 2pm at Thrive Youth Sunshine Coast on Aerodrome Road, Maroochydore and will incorporate live music and entertainment, food, guest speakers and other activities.

Mason Hope will be performing live and connecting to young people in his role as Headspace ambassador and an advocate for the work being done by the Speak Up Engage team.

“The purpose of this event is to show that we do have a voice and we are willing to take the action we need to see change happen,” Aydan says.

“Our ultimate goal is to see a space provided on the Coast specifically designed for young people and having support for this event with people coming along will be our way of showing the Council there is support for this and it’s what people really want.”

The 16-year-old Sunshine Coast Grammar student says he has thrived in his role on the Speak Up Engage program, which was created by the council to bridge the gap between sitting councillors and young people in the region as well as provide an opportunity for youth to upskill in areas of leadership.

“We live here too and it’s important for young people to be taken into account as much as it is for every other demographic on the Coast. This program shows the council is taking strides to close that gap and this event … will prove we are willing to put in the effort to get this project off the ground,” he says.

Community Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay says former Speak Up Engage participants worked alongside council to create the Sunshine Coast Youth Action Plan, guiding the support provided to young people and the youth services sector in our region until 2021.

“The new program offers free formal professional and personal development training by program partners CQUniversity and unique opportunities to provide advice to council on youth related matters,” Cr McKay says.

Aydan says earlier this year, the 2019 group released a Speak Up Engage app, which was a survey designed to capture a snapshot of the thoughts of young people under the age of 25 across the region and how they feel facilities and services can be improved. You can download the app by searching for Speak Up Engage in iTunes or on android.

For more information, check out the Speak Up Engage group on Facebook.


Roxy has been a journalist for more than a decade and joined the MWP team at the end of 2016. She is a chocolate-powered writing machine who loves to engage with the Coast community, uncover untold inspirational stories and share information that can help people.

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