Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
Wagait Beach is located on the Cox Peninsula just west of Darwin and is accessible by ferry (15 mins) or road (90 mins). Young people make up around 14% of the 461 residents and beyond seasonal sports, there are very few organised activities on offer locally. Parents and young people alike had been keen to increase access to drug and alcohol free activities which would build skills and support emotional, social and physical wellbeing and in 2021, Wagait Shire Council supported to the creation of the Wagait Youth Group.
The Council received a Strengthening Rural Communities grant of $6,000 to assist with establishing their youth program that focused on building more opportunities in the community for young people including the co-design of a local Skate Park. Across four skate workshops, the children designed, built, and decorated portable ramps that went into immediate use, while plans are now well underway for the permanent skate park. Beach cricket, movie nights and discos for the school aged children have since followed.
In addition to a more physically active lifestyle, the young people felt listened to and have become more engaged and active in civic affairs. A collaboration developed between Health Lifestyle Seniors participants and the young people which saw the seniors sharing their skills such as cooking and sewing, which in turn built intergenerational bonds of appreciation and understanding.
Furthermore, the Council employed a Year 12 student for 12 months in the role of Youth Development Officer. This role takes the lead on designing, delivering, and reporting on the ongoing youth program. The Council hopes to continue offering this position annually and expand it into an internship, covering other aspects of council work and community service to develop youth leadership skills locally.