The Spotlight on... series focuses on some of the leading figures in Queensland's community services sector and related agencies.

We ask them to talk about the work they are doing and how they see the future of the sector. Jenny Gailey is the Program Support Officer at the Chinchilla Family Support Centre.

In order to find out what issues were really important, in March 2014 Chinchilla Family Support held a Community Youth Think Tank, along with an online survey that received over 200 responses. Jenny talks about the results of the Think Tank and survey, and the implications they have for youth support services in the area.

Transcript

So my name is Jenny Gailey and I work for the Chinchilla Family Support Centre and I'm the Program Support Coordinator there. The Chinchilla Family Support Centre offers a no wrong door policy so no matter what the issue when they come through our door we will help any and all.

The Family Support Centre is predominantly an information and referral centre but what we are finding is being in a rural and remote location getting the services over the Range and out to these regions such as Chinchilla is very difficult. It's probably why we do have some really strong relationships with the agencies and the services that do come to Chinchilla.

Early intervention for me is probably one of the most important things and you hear it through a lot of agencies getting the kids, teaching the kids when they're young about respecting females, and respecting family values and along that type of vein so that you don't have the domestic violence going from generation to generation or teaching kids that people in positions such as police and teachers and those sorts of positions you should be respectful to them because one day you may need their help.

The main thing that brought our conversation around today, was our all exciting community think tank that we held with regards to the youth and the needs of the youth in Chinchilla either being met or not being met. The community think tank was an idea that started several months ago at the beginning of the year and we have now got a document that actually shows overwhelming the need for a youth worker here in Chinchilla.

It was actually held in two parts so we had a night where we invited both young people, key community people such as the police, community nurse, teachers, other community services that were in the area, parents. So basically anybody that had any interest in young people at all were invited to come along that night. We had 177 young people complete the survey over approximately a two week timeframe and of those, we had 68% were female and 32% were male and the other interesting figure that we got from this, 35% were aged between 10 to 15 and 32% were between 16 and 20. So we really hit the mark, we hit the targeted audience that we really did want to hear from. Although this was on Facebook that they could access this only 87% of the people that completed the survey have access to the internet at home. So, from that I get people went out of their way to complete this survey.

The overwhelming response to "Are the needs of young people in Chinchilla being met?" 67.43% said no. The top three issues were, 65% were depression, 58% were bullying, and 49% were anxiety. We pointedly asked do you think you need a youth worker here in Chinchilla and 76.83% said yes. So that's the kids telling us what they want. We're currently in the position of getting that data out, so getting the results out to all of the organisations that showed or are showing any interest in it. Anybody at all that might be able to utilise this data to apply for grants, to strengthen their argument when they're lobbying for programs and services out here in the Western Downs.

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